Initial mosquito counts are low enough in Miami’s newest Zika zone that county officials will not need to conduct aerial spraying for now, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Friday at a community meeting hosted by Florida Gov. Rick Scott during his first visit to the area since declaring last week that the virus was spreading in a one-square-mile section of the Little River neighborhood.
“We don’t have a plan right now for aerial spraying in this area,” Gimenez said at the meeting, held at the St. Mary’s Cathedral School on 7485 NW Second Ave. in Miami. “When we look at the outbreak here in this particular area, it seems to be very localized. We probably even know where it happened, even the spot where it happened. It really hasn’t gone out of that.”
Florida health officials have reported six Zika infections in the Little River zone, and though those cases may be localized, additional mosquito-borne infections continue to surface in other areas of the county.
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On Friday, the state health department reported three more mosquito-borne Zika infections in Miami-Dade, including one in Miami Beach and two that will require an epidemiological investigation to determine the source of exposure.
Scott visited Miami at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who had called on the governor earlier in the week to give the Little River area the same attention he showed Miami-Dade’s prior Zika zones in Wynwood and Miami Beach.
“We don’t have all the tourist attractions and all of the different businesses probably that are in Wynwood, but we do have people whose lives are going to be affected,” Wilson told Scott at Friday’s meeting. “I appreciate you being here.”
Miami-Dade mosquito-control workers moved five traps into the Little River zone Oct. 15, and during the past week the average count of female Aedes aegypti — the species most likely to transmit Zika — has been less than three per trap, said Alina Hudak, deputy mayor.
Hudak said county workers also have conducted about 2,000 inspections in the Little River zone, plus several rounds of truck-mounted spraying to kill adult mosquitoes and their eggs.
In Miami Beach’s Zika zone, mosquito counts also have been low, Hudak said.
In the zone between Eighth and 28th Streets from the ocean to the bay, first identified on Aug. 19, the mosquito counts have averaged less than five per trap. In the zone between 28th to 63rd Streets from the ocean to the bay, identified on Sept. 16, mosquito counts have averaged less than 10 per trap.
County officials also have reported finding mosquitoes that tested positive for Zika eight times within the same Miami Beach zone since late August.
Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, though the virus is also transmitted sexually and through blood transfusions.
A total of 1,051 Zika infections have been reported in Florida this year, with 858 travel-related cases, including 111 pregnant women, and an additional 188 mosquito-borne infections. Five cases are “undetermined” after state health officials failed to identify the source of exposure.
Miami-Dade remains the only county in the nation identified as having active spread of Zika by mosquitoes, in the one-square-mile section of Little River and a 4.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach covering most of South Beach and Middle Beach.
Among the four Florida counties where mosquito-borne infections have been reported, Miami-Dade has the most, with at least 176 cases to date. The remaining local infections have been reported in Broward, Palm Beach and Pinellas counties.
While visiting St. Mary’s on Friday, Scott renewed his calls for the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send additional Zika prevention kits to the state and to host a conference call with physicians and other medical providers for an update on the latest guidance.
“My goal in being here,” Scott said, “is in understanding, is there something the state can be helpful on? Is there something we can do to better work with the CDC?”
We don't have all the tourist attractions and all of the different businesses probably that are in Wynwood, but we do have people whose lives are going to be affected.
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson on Miami’s newest Zika zone
On Friday, the CDC announced that $70 million is available for states, cities and U.S. territories to support their efforts against Zika. According to the federal agency, funds will be distributed based on the number of Zika infections, laboratory capacity, mosquito surveillance and control capabilities and active local spread of the virus.
The funding is part of $1.1 billion appropriation approved by Congress in September for Zika response, which has yet to reach the state.
“We haven’t gotten any of it yet,” Scott said.
Miami-Dade, which Gimenez said is spending about $5 million a month on Zika response, has received about $4.5 million in state funding to date, Hudak said. Scott has allocated $12 million in state funds for Miami-Dade to help pay for mosquito control, inspections, overtime for workers and other efforts, including aerial spraying.
Zika cases reported in Florida as of Oct. 21
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