Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday allocated more money for Miami-Dade to fight Zika as health officials reported one new mosquito-borne infection in the county, raising to 15 the number of local cases currently under investigation outside of Miami Beach — which remains the only place identified by the state as having active spread of the virus.
The additional $7.4 million will pay for Miami-Dade to hire extra mosquito control workers and to increase spraying. It raises the amount of state funds committed for the county’s Zika response to $12.4 million.
To date, Florida has sent about $512,000 to Miami-Dade, which had expected to spend about $10 million through Sept. 30 on aerial spraying and other mosquito control efforts, including property inspections and public education campaigns.
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The number of Zika infections statewide has risen to a total of 1,002 people this year. Miami-Dade has reported the most cases of any county with 237 travel-related and 156 mosquito-borne.
Of Miami-Dade’s local infections, 64 are linked to exposure in Miami Beach and 36 to mosquitoes in Wynwood, said Mara Gambineri, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health.
The remaining 56 cases in Miami-Dade are either under investigation to determine the area of exposure, or they have been closed out after the state failed to find evidence of active transmission.
Epidemiologists currently are conducting 16 active investigations into Zika infections, including 12 in Miami-Dade, two in Palm Beach and two cases where the area of exposure is unknown because the affected persons had traveled both to Miami Beach and to a country overseas where the virus is widespread.
State officials have refused to disclose all locations in Miami-Dade where epidemiologists are investigating mosquito-borne Zika infections, but one of them is in the 4.5-square-mile zone of Miami Beach where mosquitoes are spreading the virus. County officials also have reported finding mosquitoes that tested positive for Zika at seven different locations within the same Miami Beach zone.
“The active investigations may end up leading us back to Miami Beach,” Gambineri said in an email. “It is too soon to say, which is why they are active investigations. A key purpose of the investigation is to find out where exposure occurred, but more importantly to find out if active transmission is ongoing.”
According to CDC guidance, “a starting point” for health officials to identify an area of local transmission is two or more infections (not related to travel or sex) among people who do not share the same household, occurring within a one-mile diameter in two or more weeks.
Zika cases reported in Florida as of Oct. 11
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