Gov. Rick Scott has lifted the zone of active Zika transmission covering one square mile of Miami’s Little River neighborhood.
Scott made the announcement Friday morning in Little River at St. Mary Cathedral School, 7485 NW 2nd Ave.
“Today is a good news day,” he said as he opened the press conference.
The Little River zone, between Northeast 79th and 63rd streets from Northwest 10th Avenue to North Miami Avenue, was declared an area where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were actively spreading the Zika virus on Oct. 13. A week after the zone was announced, Miami-Dade officials said mosquito counts in Little River were low and they believed the outbreak was very localized.
Little River is the third area in Miami-Dade that Tallahassee has cleared since Wynwood was the first neighborhood in the continental U.S. where mosquitoes were actively transmitting Zika. Authorities have said there is no longer active transmission there or in a swath of mid-Miami Beach that was lifted Nov. 22.
One zone remains: a 1.5 square mile area in heart of South Beach, from Eighth to 28th streets, stretching from Biscayne Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. The target date for that zone to be lifted is Dec. 9, which would mark 45 days since the last confirmed case began to show symptoms of the Zika virus.
Referencing the last remaining zone in South Beach, Scott said people should remain vigilant about eliminating standing water and wearing insect repellent.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is still advising pregnant women to consider postponing travel to all of Miami-Dade. According to the CDC, the specific level of risk in the whole county is unknown.
The more intense hot spots, such as the remaining zone in South Beach, come with more intense advisories that warn pregnant women not to visit those areas.
Zika can cause a severe birth defect to the brain called microcephaly and other problems for newborns. Last week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on a study that examined infants born to mothers who were infected with Zika, which found that the babies were born with no signs of microcephaly but have experienced slow head growth and neurological issues.
On Friday, Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez said the fight against Zika is a long one that won’t end even if Miami-Dade is cleared. Residents will need to be ready when mosquito season intensifies next year.
“I think we need to treat this like hurricane season,” he said. “We’ll need to prepare in the months before.”