Health officials on Thursday reported one new local Zika infection in Miami Beach involving an out-of-state resident as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida wrote to the Obama administration urging the quick release of federal funds for mosquito control in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
As forecasts showed Matthew approaching the coast of Central Florida late Thursday, with rainfall projections of 5 to 10 inches, Rubio asked Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to expedite mosquito control funds contained in the $1.1 billion emergency funding packaged recently signed by the president.
“The danger has grown,” Rubio wrote, “and there is a high likelihood of significant flooding that results in large amounts of standing water. This would provide a ripe breeding ground for mosquitoes, including some that may be carrying the Zika virus.”
In September, shortly after Congress passed the Zika funding bill, Rubio and U.S Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart held a press conference in Miami to urge the rapid release of federal funds to local governments, especially in Florida, which remains the only state in the nation with a mosquito-borne outbreak of the virus.
Available funds include $394 million for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fund local mosquito control and surveillance. But Florida has yet to use CDC funds already available for Zika prevention and mosquito control, including $8.4 million in grants the federal health agency began awarding the state in June.
Miami Beach is the only place in the continental United States where officials have reported trapping mosquitoes carrying Zika virus — at seven different locations — within a 4.5-square-mile zone identified as having active transmission of the disease.
Florida has reported a total of 987 Zika infections this year, with 159 mosquito-borne cases and 824 travel-related cases, including 103 pregnant women. An additional four cases have been labeled “undetermined” after state health officials failed to identify the source of exposure.
Zika cases reported in Florida as of Oct. 6
Number of Cases
Total cases not involving pregnant women
Cases involving pregnant women regardless of symptoms*
* Counties of pregnant women not disclosed
** Does not include local cases
Source: Florida Department of Health