DEP’s Zika Response

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~DEP Protecting Florida’s Families~

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking steps to help prevent Zika so that residents and visitors can safely enjoy Florida’s natural treasures. DEP recognizes the primary method for fighting the Zika virus is through mosquito control. Mosquitoes that most commonly carry the Zika virus prefer breeding in water-holding containers such as birdbaths, planters and tires.

DEP has developed a comprehensive action plan that focuses on preventing the local transmission of the Zika virus. This plan includes three key efforts:

RESPOND: Actions Being Taken by DEP to Prevent the Spread of the Zika Virus

  • Helping clean up areas where tires have been illegally dumped.
  • Partnering with local governments to host free waste-tire disposal days. Contact
    your local solid waste department for information on how to properly dispose of used tires.
  • Inspecting waste-tire processing facilities and taking enforcement action as
    necessary for violations.
  • Eliminating mosquito breeding areas.
  • Working with local mosquito control boards to implement mosquito control strategies in areas frequented by visitors.

EDUCATE: DEP’s Efforts to Relay Zika Information to the Public and Stakeholders

  • Increasing awareness by distributing Zika prevention information at outreach events throughout state parks, trails and aquatic preserves.
  • Educating and encouraging state park and aquatic preserve visitors to use CDC-recommended insect repellent and wear appropriate clothing.
  • Sharing social media posts with updated information.

DETER: Communicating Safety Precautions and Protocols with DEP Employees

  • Providing educational information on the Zika virus and mosquito-bite prevention to DEP staff, as well as specific safety guidance for employees who work in an outdoor setting.
  • Protecting the health and safety of employees by providing staff with insect repellent and other protective items as well as establishing protocols to reduce exposure risk.

What is Zika?

Zika fever is an illness caused by a mosquito-borne virus similar to those that cause dengue and West Nile virus infection. For more information on Zika cases reported in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Health’s Zika webpage.

How is Zika Transmitted?

Zika fever is acquired through the bite of an infected mosquito, including the same mosquitoes that can transmit dengue and chikungunya.

The Zika virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and can cause certain birth defects. It can also be sexually transmitted.

Click here for more information on how the Zika virus spreads.

What are the Symptoms of Zika Infection and How is it Treated?

According to the Florida Department of Health, only about 1 in 5 people infected with the Zika virus are symptomatic. Signs and symptoms of Zika fever may include: acute onset of low-grade fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (reddening of eye), body aches, headache, eye pain and vomiting. Treatment is symptomatic since there is no specific treatment against the virus. Illness typically resolves within a week.

How do I Protect Myself from Zika?

The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

Click on images below for full-screen versions.

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Where Can I Get More Information on Zika?

For more information on the Zika virus, Florida residents and visitors can call
855-622-6735 or visit the following webpages:

Florida Department of Health Zika Information

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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