New cases of Zika reported as DOH reduces affected Wynwood area

MIAMI (WSVN) - Five new, non-travel related cases of Zika have been announced in Florida, Tuesday, by the Florida Department of Health (DOH).

Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced, Tuesday, that the DOH is investigating one case in Pinellas County and four cases in the impacted Wynwood area. The DOH has begun door-to-door sampling in Pinellas, and officials will initiate a plan to reduce the mosquito population in the area.

Health officials will reconvene in Pinellas County on Wednesday to make sure there are no new active transmission zones in the Tampa Bay area.

“Just because we have one case here doesn’t mean we have local transmission,” Scott said. “They will start doing aggressive mosquito control and aggressive testing to find out if we have local transmission.”

Scott also announced that the DOH was able to clear nearly the entire perimeter area in Wynwood, which brings the total area cleared to 76 blocks.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez released a statement detailing another larvicide spraying. The spraying is scheduled for Saturday.

“We have adjusted our spraying schedule to avoid any inconvenience to our local school system and the children, families and teachers in our community,” said Gimenez. “As of this time, no additional adulticide aerial sprayings using Naled are planned.”

So far, a total of 42 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus have been discovered, according to the CDC.

Meanwhile, doctors have been monitoring the first baby to be born in Miami-Dade with Zika-related complications. Maria Mendoza gave birth to her baby, Micaela, seven weeks ago, after being infected with the virus while in Venezuela.

Since Maria was infected while in Venezuela, the case does not count towards the local count of transmitted cases.

“I cried a lot. One always thinks the worst is going to happen because you don’t know what part of the brain was damaged,” Mendoza said, speaking in Spanish. “Doctors wouldn’t say a lot because they were doing a bunch of tests.”

Doctors found scarring on the retina of Micaela’s eye and calcium deposits on her brain. They hope that, through therapy and careful monitoring, her outlook will still be positive.

“The future is uncertain. We keep a very positive mind. A lot of faith in God and the virgin,” Mendoza said.

On Aug. 19, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced a second Zika zone in Miami Beach. It’s a 1.5 square mile area. The first U.S. hot zone for locally transmitted cases of Zika was identified in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami in late July.

The mosquito-borne illness is especially dangerous for pregnant women and has been linked to serious birth defects. The CDC has issued a travel advisory for pregnant women to avoid the Zika hot Zones in Miami-Dade County.

In order to boost business in Wynwood, the City of Miami began offering free two hour parking in the area. The free parking will remain in effect until Aug. 31.

There were also people walking in Wynwood calling for proactive ways to combat Zika and handing out Zycazin, an FDA approved antiseptic that neutralizes insect bites but is not intended to, nor can it, prevent the Zika virus.

In Miami Beach, a tech conference scheduled for September has been postponed due to fears of Zika. The conference, hosted by Gerber Technology, was scheduled to take place from Sept. 28 through the 3h at The Ritz-Carlton on Collins Avenue.

The CDC also issued a travel warning for the Bahamas, Tuesday. Four cases of Zika have been confirmed on the island of New Providence, where the capital city of Nassau is. The Bahamian government, however, insisted it is still a safe place to visit.

If a mosquito carrying Zika does bite, it can take up to two weeks to cause symptoms like:

  • fever
  • headache
  • skin rash
  • joint pain
  • conjunctivitis, which causes red, irritated eyes

The State Surgeon General has activated a 24-hour Zika hotline in Florida to answer questions and concerns. That number is 855-622-6735.

Pregnant women can receive a free test at the Health District Center, located at 1350 NW 14th St. in Miami. For more information, call (305)-324-2400.

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