Gov. Rick Scott has directed the state's surgeon general to declare a public health emergency in four counties with confirmed cases of Zika.

Currently a total of nine travel-related cases of the Zika virus have been identified in Florida, including two cases in Hillsborough County.

Zika is a mosquito-borne illness that has been linked to birth defects in Brazil. The World Health Organization recently declared a global public health emergency in response to the spread of the virus.

Under the executive order, which Scott signed Wednesday, State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong is directed to declare a public health emergency in Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee and Santa Rosa counties.

"Although Florida’s current nine Zika cases were travel-related, we have to ensure Florida is prepared and stays ahead of the spread of the Zika virus in our state," Scott said, adding that the state Department of Health will continue to be in communication with county health clinics, hospitals and the Centers for Disease Control.

The executive order also authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture to issue a mosquito declaration in the affected counties, with special attention paid to residential areas, and directs the Florida Department of Health to make its own determinations as to resources and information needed to fight the spread of Zika.