It took a dozen boxes of documents and a six-page letter for Miami-Dade officials to respond Friday to a request from State Surgeon General Celeste Philip for more information on the county’s spending, surveillance data and future plans for combating the mosquito-borne spread of Zika in South Florida.
According to a table of contents attached the letter, the cardboard boxes included comprehensive spending reports, dates and locations for ground and aerial spraying, mosquito trap counts, analysis and research on mosquito-control efforts, and the county’s plan for the current season.
“Miami-Dade has mounted a response which is both comprehensive and unprecedented,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez wrote in the letter.
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Philip had requested the information following an ongoing dispute between the state and county over the handling of Zika and release of records. The rift first emerged in September as a result of a Miami Herald lawsuit seeking the disclosure of locations where Miami-Dade traps had captured mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
Among the details of Friday’s response: Miami-Dade mosquito control has responded to 1,308 health department referrals for suspected and confirmed Zika cases in the county while workers have conducted 22,869 inspections in the three zones identified as having active spread of the virus, including sections of Miami’s Wynwood and Little River neighborhoods, and Miami Beach.
Miami-Dade, which remains the only county in the nation identified as having an ongoing outbreak of the virus, also has been working with the state and federal agencies to evaluate new technologies and to test mosquitoes’ resistance to insecticides.
Gimenez wrote that during the upcoming mosquito season the county intends to conduct trial releases of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a bacteria that can stop certain viruses, including dengue and Zika, from replicating inside the insect. The county also will explore the use of genetically engineered mosquitoes to combat Zika.
Florida health officials on Friday reported three more mosquito-borne Zika infections in Miami-Dade that will require an epidemiological investigation to determine the source of exposure. A total of 1,128 Zika infections have been confirmed in Florida this year, with 210 local cases and 912 travel-related cases, including 133 pregnant women.
Zika cases confirmed in Florida as of Nov. 4
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