MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Mosquitoes testing positive for the Zika virus have been found in Miami Beach, causing the Miami Beach Botanical gardens to close and local leaders to push for more funds in the fight against the virus.
Kay and Katrina Parker were visiting Miami from Washington D.C., and while they said they are not afraid of contracting the virus, they are disappointed one of the locations they wanted to visit was not open.
“I can’t live my life in fear, you know? Something is always going to be a threat,” Kay Parker said. “This is one of the attractions that we had on our bucket list while we visited Miami. Unbeknownst to me, it’s closed because of the Zika virus. It’s kind of a bummer we can’t go.”
The tourists are referring to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden which has been closed since Monday.
Officials set up 19 mosquitoes traps in Miami Beach to test the insects for the virus. Three traps contained mosquitoes positive for the virus with the Gardens being one of the locations.
Local leaders are working to keep the virus under control. “Now we have another batch of mosquitoes that are being tested now as we speak,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “Hopefully, that batch will come back negative.”
A source told 7News a Miami Beach Police officer tested positive for the virus. Neither the city nor police department would comment.
“We have identified cases of human beings with Zika; I think all of us expected there would be mosquitoes carrying Zika,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales.
Congressman Mario Diaz Balart met with staff at the Miami-Dade Mosquito Control office in Doral, early Friday, as pressure mounts for Congress to take action and pass funding to fight the virus.
“As soon as we get to Washington on Tuesday, the first thing I’m gonna do, and I’ve already been in conversations with my colleagues in Washington, is figure out what we can do in a bipartisan way to cut through the politics and the noise and actually get legislation signed by the president, passed by the House and Senate that helps with funding,” said Congressman Mario Diaz Balart.
On Miami Beach, the city is getting rid of bromeliads which hold water, creating environments rich for mosquitoes to breed in. The city is also recommending business owners and residents to do the same.
City and county leaders said they have tested over 40,000 mosquitoes for the virus, and the only mosquitoes to test positive were those mentioned earlier.
It is unclear when the Botanical Gardens will reopen.
So far, a total of 47 locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus have been discovered in Florida, according to the CDC.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced the Miami Beach Zika zone on Aug. 19. 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.
If a mosquito carrying Zika does bite, it can take up to two weeks to cause symptoms like:
-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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