Zika: Florida Department of Health reveals out-of-state tourists weren't counted

Controversy surrounds insecticide spray
Posted at 12:12 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 16:48:55-04

The Florida Department of Health now admits it was not counting out-of-state tourists to Florida in their daily count of Zika cases.

The revelation was made on Monday morning in response to a Miami Herald report just two days earlier that accused the DOH of intentionally finding a way to under-count cases as a means of downplaying the impact of the disease on the state.

Florida's Department of Health is now on the defensive, saying in a long explanation Monday that the reason they were not reporting Zika cases of out-of-state tourists because they were following guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC guidelines say that all diseases, including Zika, should be reported by state of residence, and not by the location where the virus was acquired.

ZIKA TRACKER | Interactive map and graphic

The Florida DOH says this is the reason that eight Zika cases of non-Florida residents were not counted. The department adds that the states from which these tourists were from have already reported publicly that there was a transmission.

The total number of confirmed and reported travel-related Zika cases of Florida residents, including pregnant women, is 700, as of mid-day Monday. 

The state has also confirmed and reported 54 locally-contracted Zika cases, which are cases of Zika contracted by mosquitoes in Florida.

The department is also conducting "13 active investigations" into Zika cases as of Monday.

The criticism about the counting and reporting of Zika cases happens to coincide with increasing criticism over how the state is killing mosquitoes.

There have been protests in Miami Beach about the use of Naled, an insecticide sprayed aerially that kills adult mosquitoes instantly in-flight. The spray can also kill all types of bugs. In fact, insecticide is the suspected killer of millions of bees in South Carolina recently, where there was mosquito spraying as well.

The CDC says Naled is safe, although Europe banned the insecticide in 2012.