A new batch of mosquitoes carrying Zika has been found on South Beach, Miami-Dade officials reported Tuesday, as U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida visited the region’s newest zone of active transmission — a one-square-mile section of Miami’s Little River neighborhood — and urged state leaders not to neglect the community.
The new batch of infected mosquitoes is the second positive sample retrieved from a trap at 1236 Drexel Avenue, an eight-unit apartment building, and represents the eighth time that county workers have found Zika-infected insects in Miami Beach since August.
Miami-Dade officials knocked on doors at the building early Tuesday to alert residents about the finding. The batch of mosquitoes was collected from the trap on Oct. 5 and tested by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, according to a letter from county officials to residents of the building.
Galen Treuer, who lives in the Drexel Avenue building, said he appreciated the county alerting him about the mosquitoes. Prior to Sept. 28, Miami-Dade and the state agriculture department had refused to identify the locations where they found the infected insects. It took a Miami Herald lawsuit for Miami Beach residents to learn they were living near Zika-infected mosquitoes.
“I think the big thing is the mosquito population is noticeably less than before,” said Treuer, 37. “But despite all that, we still have mosquitoes testing positive. So, that is worrisome. ... It’s a good reminder that it hasn’t gone away.”
Instead, Florida health officials reported three more mosquito-borne Zika infections in Miami Beach on Tuesday, raising the total number of local cases in Miami-Dade to 171 people this year.
In total, Florida health officials have reported 1,040 Zika infections statewide this year, with 182 local infections and 853 travel-related cases, including 109 pregnant women. An additional five cases are labeled “undetermined” after health officials failed to identify the area of exposure.
As the number of mosquito-borne Zika infections in Miami-Dade continues to rise, the most recent transmission zone in Miami’s Little River neighborhood — announced by Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Oct. 13 — needs attention, too, Wilson said Tuesday, speaking at the Belafonte TACOLCY Center in nearby Liberty City.
The new zone runs from Northwest 79th Street to 63rd Street and from Northwest 10th Avenue to North Miami Avenue. In Miami Beach, mosquitoes also continue to transmit the virus in a 4.5-square-mile zone between Eighth and 63rd Streets from the ocean to the bay, a location identified in August and September.
Though Miami’s Little River neighborhood does not have the tourist attractions of Miami Beach or the cachet of Wynwood’s arts and entertainment district — where state officials identified the nation’s first area of mosquito-borne Zika transmission in late July — the community deserves the same level of attention, Wilson said.
“I’m going to see if I can get the governor in Liberty City,” said Wilson, whose congressional district includes Wynwood, Little River and Liberty City. “He went every place else. I’m going to say, ‘Mr. Governor, you need to come to Liberty City so that thousands of cameras can follow you into Liberty City so we will know that Zika is here, too.’ ”
Since August, Scott has visited Wynwood at least four times and Miami Beach twice to meet with local officials, visit area businesses, and announce state-led initiatives related to Zika.
On Tuesday night, McKinley P. Lewis, deputy communications director for the governor’s office, told the Miami Herald: “Visiting areas of ongoing and active Zika transmission and meeting with residents and businesses remains a priority and focus for the Governor and he looks forward to visiting the area very soon.”
Following the announcement that mosquitoes are spreading Zika in the Little River area, Miami-Dade mosquito control deployed inspectors and began truck-mounted and hand-held spraying of insecticides.
Zika cases reported in Florida as of Oct. 18
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 infections
Source: Florida Department of Health