Concerned that mosquitoes are spreading Zika throughout Miami-Dade County — and not just in the identified zones covering a section of Miami’s Little River neighborhood and nearly all of Miami Beach — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday strengthened its guidance for pregnant women and urged them to get tested for the virus if they have visited any part of the county since Aug. 1.
The federal health agency’s warning stressed Zika testing for all pregnant women who have lived in, traveled to, or had unprotected sex with someone who lived in or traveled to any area of Miami-Dade since Aug. 1, or to any part of the 4.5-square-mile zone in Miami Beach since July 14.
The CDC also created two new categories for warning the public about geographic areas where Zika is spreading: Zones shaded in red indicate active transmission of the virus, and those in yellow urge caution because local spread has been identified but might not be as intense.
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An agency map updated Wednesday showed two sections of Miami-Dade in red — the zones in Little River and Miami Beach — and the entire county colored yellow.
“Zika continues to pose a threat to pregnant women living in or traveling to Miami-Dade County,” Lyle Petersen, a physician and director of the CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases said in a written statement.
Benjamin Haynes, a CDC spokesman, said the agency updated its guidance after state officials last week identified a one-square-mile zone in Miami’s Little River neighborhood where mosquitoes are spreading Zika — but also because of the growing number of local infections occurring outside of the identified zones.
Florida health officials are conducting nine investigations into mosquito-borne Zika cases, including six in Miami-Dade, one in Palm Beach and two labeled “unknown” because exposure could have occurred in Miami Beach or as a result of the person traveling abroad to a country where the virus is widespread.
A total of 173 people have contracted Zika from mosquitoes in Miami-Dade this year, according to the Florida Department of Health, including two cases reported Wednesday from the Miami Beach zone.
In total, Florida health officials have reported 1,044 Zika infections statewide this year, with 184 local infections and 855 travel-related cases, including 110 pregnant women. An additional five cases are labeled “undetermined” after health officials failed to identify the area of exposure.
Zika infections reported in Florida as of Oct. 19
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