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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Sept. 20, 2016

Close to 8,000 students returned to schools in severe Zika virus outbreak zones, all the while officials are still scrambling to contain the outbreak in two Miami neighborhoods in particular. With the hope of ensuring that more and more children do not contract the virus, the Florida Department of Health and public school district distributed free bug repellent and protective clothing to students who needed it. The Department of Health also plans to make itself available to answer any questions that parents may have about the virus and its transmission; but is this enough to ensure our children’s safety?

Florida has been at the center of the outbreak and transmission of the virus via mosquitos. There have been at least 40 cases of the virus being locally transmitted in areas such as South Beach and the Wynwood Arts District, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have already issued a warning that pregnant women should not travel to the South Beach at all. The Miami-Dade County public school zone includes close to 350,000 students at approximately 400 schools—the fourth largest in the U.S. Isn’t it risky to send this many children back to school in areas where the virus is being locally transmitted?

Too Early?

Some have remarked that the decision to let children return to schools stems from the desire of business leaders and county officials in Miami-Dade to put out a message that South Florida is still a safe tourist destination. But is it too early to be sending that message? City workers have only just begun fumigating and eliminating foliage and standing water—two things that mosquitos thrive on. Officials with the National Institutes of Health remarked that the Zika virus could actually hang on for at least a year or two. Those most at risk live in the Gulf Coast states, such as Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, especially where there has been flooding and standing water.

Exposure Lawsuits Against School Districts

School districts have in fact previously been sued before for being liable for infections. For example, families sought payment of medical expenses and other damages when children were hospitalized with E.coli infections back in March of this year. It is crucial that school districts strictly follow every recommendation from the CDC on how to handle these types of issues in the face of any outbreak, otherwise, children could get severely hurt.

Clearwater Personal Injury and Premises Liability Attorneys

When it comes to infectious outbreaks, each injury and medical situation is unique, thus, it is important to talk to an attorney about the specific facts of your case before making any official decisions. Consultations with our injury attorneys at Mike Walker Law are free and confidential, thus you have nothing to lose by calling us at or by completing our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.