Letters to the Editor

County aggressively fighting Zika virus

The Miami-Dade Department of Solid Waste Management shares concerns expressed by the CDC, state and local health officials and the Herald regarding the Zika virus. We are committed to aggressively fighting the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits Zika.

The April 15 editorial, The Zika virus is worse than we thought, referenced the county’s $1.6 million mosquito-control budget and our 17-member staff. Our operation is supported by the county’s general fund and grant funds from the state.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez has pledged to make additional resources available should enhanced efforts become necessary. Comparisons have been made to the Lee County Mosquito Control District, funded through a specific ad valorem assessment. Much of Lee County’s budget is dedicated to the aerial control of salt marsh mosquitoes, but aerial spraying is not effective in controlling the mosquitoes that breed in containers.

The governor’s emergency declaration allows the department to spray as necessary to prevent the local spread of Zika. The county’s Mosquito Control Section continues to follow its standard protocol of surveillance, response to citizen complaints and responsible spraying operations as necessary and within the limits of the law.

In preparation for mosquito season, we’ve enhanced our contractual resources, which will provide for additional inspectors to address residential service complaints, insecticide application using hand-held equipment and aerial spraying. We have also partnered with the Miami-Dade Office of the Florida Department of Health to aggressively promote the “Drain and Cover” public awareness campaign.

In the past, our community has faced other mosquito-borne viruses with only a handful of local cases. I am confident that we will be equally successful in preventing the spread of Zika.

Alina T. Hudak,

director, Miami-Dade Solid Waste Management

Department, Miami