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Castor: Zika 'Travel Alert' Would Hurt FL Tourism

Image based on data mapped by Olga Wilhelmi
NCAR GIS program
A Zika risk-assessment map developed by NASA.

At least two Florida Republicans in Congress have broken with their party and are calling on the GOP leadership to approve $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat, said her fellow Floridians, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep.Vern Buchanan, understand the virus is a threat to the state’s top industry – tourism.

"What if we get a warning from folks that says 'Don’t travel to the Tampa Bay area, don’t travel to the state of Florida if you’re of childbearing years because we have Zika mosquitos," Castor said. "We want to avoid that at all costs."

The Center for Disease Control already has issued Zika Travel Advisories for all of Central America, the Caribbean and most of South America.

So far, 102 cases of Zika have been identified in Florida. All have been contracted outside the state - not locally.

The virus has been linked to birth-defects in newborns whose mothers had become infected.

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
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