Officials work to prevent Zika spread in wake of tropical storm

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The possible heavy rainfall that is expected to make its way toward South Florida is causing some Zika emergency worries, but crews have continued their efforts to rid areas of standing water.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said residents and businesses should be especially careful about standing water, especially if the tropical system does in fact head in our direction.

Businesses along Lincoln Road in Miami Beach are hoping that Friday night will bring out the typical amount of crowds. Miami Beach officials said on Friday that code enforcement they will be cracking down. If they find standing water on private properties, those responsible may face a fine of $1,000. All of these enforcements are to protect pregnant women and their babies.

Mother Maria Mendoza gave birth to baby girl Micaela, who was born with Zika related complications. At a press conference, she said she was grateful for the doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Mendoza said she was grateful that her daughter was not born with microcephaly.

Doctors found that Zika caused an infection in her baby’s eye, but there are still many unknown factors with the virus. “Her frustrations come from the fact that nobody could really tell her, ‘Can this be treated, what it’s gonna be [in] the long-term, how she’s gonna do?'” said Dr. Juan Gonzales with Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Scott said the treatment of babies is his focus. He met with a room full of politicians and tourism leaders in Miami Beach on Friday. “Everybody has sort of shown up,” he said, “but we have to keep showing up.”

Hotels told 7News that they have seen a drop in business, but store owners have tried to accommodate pregnant women by moving activities indoors. Getting rid of standing water to stop mosquitoes from breeding is key, and it’s one more reason why so many are keeping tabs on the tropics.

“When you get rain, you gotta get rid of standing water,” Scott said. “If we didn’t have rain, would it be better? Sure.”

The Food and Drug Administration announced that they want all U.S. blood centers to begin screening for Zika. This is already something that has been occurring in Miami.

“OneBlood is the largest blood bank in Florida. It has been screening all units that have been donated since the beginning of August,” said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip. “We are making sure that our blood supply is safe.”

The screenings is another way to try and stop the spread, and the Mendoza family understands how important this is. Doctors said the Zika may also cause muscle problems on one side of her body. “Some of these damages could be reversed, at least compensated,” said one doctor. “That’s our hope.”

Mendoza said she believes she contracted Zika while she was in Venezuela.

The governor said he is making travel arrangements to Washington D.C. in September to meet with lawmakers in order to encourage them to pass a Zika bill to get the money needed for a vaccine.

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