MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County have tested positive for the Zika virus – a first in the continental U.S.
The Florida Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that three mosquito samples taken out of 19 from Miami Beach had the Zika virus – including some in a trap at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.
“It’s the first time we see mosquitoes with Zika but it was not unexpected,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.“It was a matter of time before we had these active mosquitoes identified.”
The mayor blamed the bromeliads – saying they tend to hold standing water, attracting mosquitoes.
The small section in Miami Beach where the mosquitoes were found is an area within the current zone already being treated for local transmission cases. This means there’s been increased trapping and intensified mosquito control measures in that area, according to officials.
Since then, about 95 more samples have been taken from Miami-Dade County and those groups tested negative for the virus. Another batch of mosquitoes is being tested for the virus.
“This find is disappointing, but not surprising. Florida is among the best in the nation when it comes to mosquito surveillance and control, and this detection enables us to continue to effectively target our resources. Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami Beach, and state and federal partners will continue to work aggressively to prevent the spread of Zika,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
Miami Beach’s mayor says they are doing everything possible to control the mosquito population in the city and stop the spread of the virus that’s been linked to severe birth defects in babies.
“Miami Beach will continue to take a hardline in our fight against Zika. We are aggressively working to eliminate any and all potential mosquito breeding grounds. We are also working closely with our partners at the state and the county to ensure all resources are effectively deployed. Together we can contain and eliminate all cases of Zika. We need Congress to do its part to provide the necessary emergency resources to properly combat the spread of this virus,” stated Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
Mayor Gimenez is asking the public to also do their part in preventing the spread.
“The message here remains the same. We need to drain and cover,” said Gimenez. “We have to fight the bite.”
He went on,“This is not an epidemic. We are though taking every step possible to make sure that it doesn’t become one.”
As of Wednesday, there were 47 non-travel related cases of the virus in Florida and 569 travel-related cases. Eighty pregnant women in the state have been infected with Zika.
So far, the local transmission zones are the following:
- Wynwood Area – NW 22nd St. at the South, NE 2nd Ave to NE 23rd St. at the east; NW 3rd Ave to the west; and NE 36th St to the north.
- Miami Beach Area – 28th Street to the north, 8th Street to the south, lntercoastal water to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.