Zika virus: Miami Beach transmission zone triples

Posted at 4:54 PM, Sep 17, 2016

The Zika virus transmission zone in Miami Beach has tripled in size, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday night.

The Florida Department of Health extended its Miami Beach local transmission zone to include a 4.5 square mile zone running from 8th Street to 63rd Street, including the famed Fontainebleau hotel. The original zone was limited to 1½ square miles from 8th Street up to 28th Street.

The new zone was set after the Department of Health identified five people, two males and three females, in the area who all experienced Zika symptoms within one month of one another.

The virus poses a particular threat to pregnant woman due to its link with neurological disorders in unborn children.

It brings the total of nontravel-related Zika cases in Miami Beach to 35.

However, Scott said they also expect to lift the impact zone in Wynwood, north of downtown Miami, on Monday.

“While we’ve learned that we’re expanding the impacted area in Miami Beach, the good news is that we expect to lift the zone in Wynwood on Monday because of our aggressive mosquito control measures, outreach to the community, education efforts and the vigilant actions of the residents and businesses in Wynwood,” he said.

“The expansion of the Miami Beach area where local transmission is occurring highlights the need for continued aggressive mosquito control measures and for Congress to immediately approve federal funding to combat Zika.”

The aerial spraying measures to prevent Zika-carrying mosquitoes have drawn protests from local residents over concerns about possible detrimental side effects to people’s health and the environment.

The insecticide uses the chemical, naled, a substance deemed safe in low concentrations according to the Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but banned in the European Union.