3 new non-travel related cases of Zika in Miami-Dade County

MIAMI (WSVN) - Florida Gov. Rick Scott confirmed there are three new non-travel related cases of the Zika virus in Miami-Dade County, including one case that is linked to an area in Miami Beach.

The Florida Department of Health is investigating the other two cases to determine where exposure occurred.

Meanwhile, Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon helped hand out insect repellent lamps called Dynatraps in Miami’s Little River neighborhood, part of the county’s latest Zika hot zone, Friday.

The 100 Dynatraps were donated to the City of Miami’s District 5 by the Dynamic Solutions Team.

“I’m very happy that they’re all concerned about the neighborhood and that they’re looking out for our well-being,” said a woman who lives in the area.

The hope is that each Dynatrap will trap and kill mosquitoes in a one-acre area. “So they can fight the mosquito population and combat Zika in the area,” said Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon.

Scott was in Miami on Friday discussing Zika with students at St. Mary’s Cathedral School.

The governor, who participated in a roundtable discussion alongside Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and other county and state officials, said he hopes the cooler weather expected to move into South Florida this weekend will help stop the mosquitoes. “My understanding is that we need more nights where it stays chillier,” he said.

“The cold, they don’t like cold temperature, and that minimizes the population of them spreading more,” said Little River resident July Joseph.

“If we don’t get the cold front, then we get more moisture and heat,” said fellow resident Stanley Joseph. “It becomes a living habitat for the mosquitoes, and then they spread.”

So far, a total of 169 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus have been discovered in Florida, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC announced on Friday an additional $70 million in Zika funding. Some of those funds are being allocated toward fighting the virus in Florida, but it has not trickled down yet.

“That $1.1 billion that the federal government approved, I guess that was three or four weeks ago, we haven’t gotten any of it yet,” said Scott.

When asked if he found this apparent delay frustrating, Scott replied, “Sure. I mean, the federal government hasn’t been a great partner so far.”

The latest Zika zone is located in the city of Miami and includes Little River, Little Haiti and Liberty City. The boundaries are between Northwest 10th Avenue and Miami Avenue and between Northwest 79th Street and 63rd Street. It was announced on Oct. 12, by the governor’s office.

“It seems like it’s spreading all over Miami-Dade, and we just have to be careful and take the necessary precautions,” said area resident Armando Viera.

On Aug. 19, a 1.5 square mile area in Miami Beach, was determined to be a Zika hot zone. That area was eventually expanded to approximately 4.5 square miles.

The first U.S. hot zone for locally transmitted cases of Zika was identified in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, in late July. It has since been declared free of the virus.

Gimenez said the aerial spraying that was conducted in Wynwood will not take place in the most recent hot zone. He said the mosquito population is lower in the Little River community, and they are going to focus on ground spraying.

The mosquito-borne illness is especially dangerous for pregnant women and has been linked to serious birth defects. The CDC has stepped up their travel advisory for pregnant women, advising them to postpone travel to Miami-Dade County because of the “intensity of the Zika transmission.”

“The women that have probably traveled through Miami-Dade probably since August, should probably get tested for Zika, just to make sure,” said Gimenez. “Also, if they’ve had unprotected sex with their partners, they should get tested, too.”

“Now everyone has protect their skin and hide!” said July Joseph.

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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