Amid Zika fears, Florida theme parks offer mosquito repellent

(CNN)It probably was only a matter of time, but mosquito repellent has joined hand sanitizer as a must-have health accessory at Florida theme parks.

Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal Orlando are spearheading the movement in hope of sidelining any fears tourists may have of being exposed to Zika-carrying mosquitoes.


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So far, no case of the dangerous Zika virus has been found that far north — Orlando is 228 miles on the Florida Turnpike from Miami. But experts say it’s only a matter of time before the bug reaches the Magic Kingdom.
So Disney is getting set to reassure a key targeted demographic –women in child-bearing years and their partners — that it will have repellent on hand to fend off any of the critters, disease-ridden or not.

Starting Sunday, Sea World Parks & Entertainment will be offering guests “complimentary EPA-approved insect repellent” at all of its venues, from Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay to SeaWorld, said spokeswoman Aime Jeansonne Becka.
“We continue to stay in contact with local, state and federal health officials for the latest updates and recommendations,” she said.
Miami Zoological Wildlife Foundation has already been supplying “personal-sized DEET-free mosquito repellent” for tours of its private zoo as well as ensuring there is no standing water on the property, said spokeswoman Paulina Naranjo.
Disney has had its share of tragedies related to guests. In June, a Nebraska couple lost their 2-year-old child to an alligator while on a Walt Disney World beach one evening to watch a movie. A recent report by the state noted that at least two guests warned Disney employees that an alligator was prowling where children were wading.
The theme park had not warned guests of the possible danger posed by gators, especially to small children, at the time of the attack. Disney has since erected signs warning of alligators and poisonous snakes and taken other measures to protect guests.

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