Swimming pools, golf courses, beaches and camp sites, combined with Florida's moderate climate, contribute to active, outdoor lifestyles and attract visitors from all over the world. Unfortunately, Florida’s fair weather is also hospitable to ticks and mosquitoes, insects capable of transmitting infections from animals to humans, such as the West Nile Virus and Ehrlichia.
Our exposure to certain pathogens is increased not only by Florida’s warm weather, but also by the moist, humid environment that provide ideal conditions for the growth of fungi. Of particular health concern is black mold, a toxigenic fungus, meaning it may produce different types of toxins. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) It is known to be linked to upper respiratory infections and flu-like symptoms. Black molds grow in moist warm soil. Florida’s tropical climate, with its heat and humidity, created a perfect setting for fungi to thrive.
Mosquitoes are also capable of transmitting infections from one human to another. Fortunately, for now, human to human infections carried through mosquitoes are not yet found in Florida. However, with increased tourism, there is greater risk for Malaria and Yellow Fever to travel from the nearby Caribbean Islands to our sunny peninsula.
Also affecting Floridians, Florida immigrants and visitors is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB) and resistant bacteria, such as MRSA – all pathogens being studied by EPI investigators.