Health News Florida

Since 2006, Health News Florida has provided in-depth journalism on health policy issues in our state.

Health News Florida is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at http://health.wusf.usf.edu

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says pregnant women statewide can get a free Zika test to determine whether they've been infected with the mosquito-borne virus.

  Researchers say a vaccine for the Zika virus will not be available until at least 2018.

And that's with various trials being fast-tracked as the number of people believed to be infected by mosquitoes in Florida climbs.

  With the hum of the bus' engine in the background, Doctor Maria Pardo looks at 2-year-old Isabella Rodriquez's teeth. The toddler is nervous, and keeps closing her mouth. To help distract her, Pardo counts Isabella's teeth out loud as she inspects them with a dental mirror.


Federal lawmakers from Florida are criticizing the state’s recent decision to allow for higher levels of toxins in its waterways. They’re worried about public health because some of the toxins cause cancer.

The Florida Environmental Regulation Commission approved increased levels for about 20 different toxins in Florida surface waters, like rivers and estuaries. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would still have to approve the move.

Nine members of Congress recently sent the EPA a letter voicing their concern.

Fire arms purchases are growing. That’s according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Adam Putnam says he expects to see that trend continue. 

  Now that Zika is being transmitted in Florida, epidemiologists expect to see pockets of Zika outbreaks to crop up around the state.

Health News Florida Reporters Talk Zika

Aug 3, 2016

Florida Gov. Rick Scott now says the number of locally acquired Zika cases had climbed to 15.  Florida is the first state in the US to have locally acquired cases of the disease, and so far officials say the transmission’s confined to a small area: one square mile in Wynwood, which is just north of downtown Miami.  Scott’s asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to activate its emergency response team.

Pregnant women are being asked to stay away from the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Zika-related travel warning for pregnant women to an area just north of Downtown Miami after 10 more people were suspected of getting the virus locally.

State To Pay $176K In Legal Expenses In Immigrant ER Case

Aug 2, 2016

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration will have to pay more than $176,000 in legal fees and costs because of losing part of a legal battle about hospitals providing emergency care to undocumented immigrants, an administrative law judge ruled Monday.

Florida health officials have identified 10 more people who likely contracted the Zika virus through a mosquito bite in the Miami-Dade County area, bringing the total to 14.

Florida parents shopping for the new school year are getting a smaller, shorter back-to-school sales tax holiday.

Florida's new law that places restrictions on abortion clinics is going to remain blocked for now.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not adding Florida or Miami to its list of areas where pregnant women should avoid traveling. 

Members of the Florida Board of Medicine asked the state to provide a law enforcement officer at its future meetings after an enraged Brandon woman, screaming obscenities, tried to accost her former physician during a hearing in Tampa on Friday.

Florida's worries about the Zika virus have turned into reality.

In the middle of the state's typically humid, buggy summer, Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that four Zika cases in South Florida were likely caused by mosquito bites.

Florida's Department of Health has granted its second dispensing authorization for medical marijuana and its location will be in Tampa.

FDA: No Miami-Area Blood Donations During Zika Investigation

Jul 29, 2016

Pointing to concerns about transmission of the Zika virus, the federal Food and Drug Administration on Thursday requested that blood banks in Miami-Dade and Broward counties temporarily halt collecting blood until safeguards are put in place.

As pot shops start to sprout in Florida, cities are struggling with how --- or whether --- to regulate the state's new marijuana industry.

Most of Steve Kenan was laid to rest in St. Petersburg after his unexpected death in 2013. But not his heart.

That organ, preserved in formaldehyde, has traveled more than 1,000 miles to be studied by pathologists in three states. So far, they can’t agree on what killed him; was it his chronic heart condition or a medical mistake?

Dr. Dr. Gillian Hotz is the director of the KiDZ Neuroscience Center and the sports concussion program at the University of Miami. And now, she can add videogame developer to her resume.

This fall, Hotz is piloting an educational video game with youth football leagues across the country.

The game is called SportzSafe. And it’s designed to teach young players how to prevent, identify and address concussions.

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