Everyone going to any tropical destinations should take precautions against the Zika virus by avoiding mosquito bites, health officials say.

Among the places where Zika virus is widespread, in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Central America.

Travel tips for these areas include:
wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Stay and sleep in places with air-conditioning or that use window and door      screens
if your plans include travel to more remote areas, use a mosquito net while      sleeping.
Use EPA registered insect repellents with one of the following active

ingredients: DEET,Picardin, IR 3535,oil of lemon, eucalyptus
or paramenthabe-diol,or 2- undecanone.

In travel related cases, the people with Zika become infected while out of the country and come back with symptoms or developed them after returning to the United States. About one in five people infected with Zika have symptoms, generally a low grade fever, rash and joint pain.

Most of the local transmissions in 2016 occurred in Miami-Dade last summer when mosquitoes were prevalent. The number of new cases dropped off due to spraying against mosquitoes, cooler weather and the public being urged to use repellant to prevent mosquito bites.

Pregnant women are risk if their unborn babies are exposed to the virus, which then can lead to birth defects. Researchers with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are examining the link between Zika and birth defects.

There are six new travel related cases of Zika in the state of Florida since the first of the year according to the Florida Department of Health. Two in Collier County, two in Miami-Dade, one in Seminole and another in Broward County.

With the increased chances of people bringing back the Zika virus from cruising the Caribbean this winter, University of Florida suggests that since mosquitoes need water in order to live, removing water sources around the home goes a long way to prevent mosquitoes.

For water not intentionally collected such as water that collects and          discarded cans, bottles and buckets, it is best to properly dispose of           water holding containers or empty water from the containers.

It is best to flush out containers such as birdbaths, and bromeliad plants, once a week.

Dispose of used tires and old appliances appropriately. Clean your gutters and drains that cause water to be retained.

Check for standing water in areas that may pool and remain after rainfall events. Make sure these areas can drain well.

We must all do our part to keep the Zika virus from spreading in our State.