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Florida officials: Aggressive efforts to stop Zika continue

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Florida officials say they’re continuing aggressive efforts to stop the spread of the Zika virus. Gov. Rick Scott met Monday with Miami-Dade County officials to discuss Zika preparedness ahead of Florida’s rainy season, when mosquitoes are most prevalent. Officials said fewer travel-related cases are being reported in Florida so far this year, compared with last spring. Officials also said state labs and Miami-Dade mosquito control operations added staff since last year’s Zika outbreak. Counseling also is available for families affected…

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CDC: Don’t donate sperm in 3 Florida counties due to Zika

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Men from three Florida counties shouldn’t donate sperm because of a small risk of spreading Zika, U.S. health officials said Monday. The guidance had previously applied to Miami-Dade County, the only place in Florida where there’s evidence mosquitoes spread the virus. But infections were reported in people in South Florida who couldn’t clearly be linked to Miami-Dade. On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the advice should extend to two counties north of Miami — Broward and…

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Genetically modified mosquito trial in Keys could begin this year, company scientist says

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A British company could begin releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys sometime this year, a scientist with the company said this week. Simon Warner, the chief scientist at Oxitec, said the company is hopeful it can begin its genetically modified mosquito trial in Monroe County this year. The trial, which has been in the works for years, will mark the company’s first trial in the United States. But Warner said the company has also been in discussions with…

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Infamous dates: The moments that influenced Florida politics in 2016

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Everyone expected Florida to play an important role in politics this year. And why wouldn’t they? Presidential hopefuls hailed from here; the state’s electoral votes were coveted; and its Senate race could have determined control of the U.S. Senate. But just like many predictions in 2016, some of the prophecies for Florida’s outsized role on the national stage fell flat. Many believed a Sunshine state politico would be a presidential nominee (not quite right) or that the election would hinge…

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Is demand for travel to Cuba flattening?

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Demand for travel to Cuba may be flattening, with soaring hotel prices on the island, American Airlines cutting some flights, and uncertainty over whether new travel restrictions could be imposed when Donald Trump takes office. Gregory Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours, a tour company that’s taken 3,000 Americans to Cuba, confirms there has been a softening in demand. In part, he blamed hotel prices on the island, which have nearly doubled since 2015 and which are set by the government. “There’s…

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More than just the presidency: 10 down ballot races to watch on Election Day

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Presidential races get all the attention, but it’s the folks down ballot that make the real decisions. In the Sunshine State, there’s no shortage of high intensity — and sometimes high drama — battles for office. And we aren’t talking about the races for state House and Senate. There have been allegations of election fraud in a mayor’s race, dirty tricks in a superintendent battle, and fights over genetically modified mosquitoes. Here are 10 down ballot races and referendums we think you…

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Zika test urged for pregnant women throughout Miami-Dade

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The government on Wednesday recommended Zika testing for all pregnant women who recently spent time anywhere in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. The county is the only area in the continental U.S. where mosquitoes have been spreading the virus since the summer. Testing is recommended for pregnant women who lived in — or visited — Miami-Dade since August 1, whether or not they have symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously urged testing for pregnant women who had been…

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