FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Mosquito control sprayed parts of Broward County Wednesday in an effort to stem the spread of the Zika virus in South Florida.READ MORE: Pari-Mutuels Fire Back At Seminoles In Gambling Appeal
At last check, Mosquito Control officials were in the areas of Southwest Ranches and Davie. Mosquito Control crews were also seen going around a Weston neighborhood looking for signs of mosquitoes carrying the virus but came up empty-handed. It’s one of many neighborhoods the Department of Health is directing crews for mosquito assessment.
If they find any mosquito activity, they will collect samples and spray.
“Just being proactive in the area, just making sure there’s not activity and everything looks great,” said an official with mosquito control.
Of the 15 locally transmitted cases tied to the Wynwood area in Miami, two people have tested positive for the Zika virus in Broward County. One is a resident in Southwest Ranches and there are now two more suspected non-travel related Zika cases in Fort Lauderdale.
“No matter where the cases are confirmed or suspected, we don’t only have to be concerned about where these patients live but also where they work or where they may frequent,” said Mosquito Control Director Ahn Ton.
“This is something that I think has been brought into our country.We’ve got to get a handle on it,” said Pompano Beach resident Jan Dougherty.
Samule Stanley got a warning to remove tires from his Broward property.They’re a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes that could carry the virus.
“There’s something to be concerned about because, you know, you don’t want nobody going around getting sick,” said Stanley.READ MORE: Three Killed, Six Injured In Michigan School Shooting, 15-Year-Old Suspect In Custody
At last check, Florida health officials said they had tested more than 200 people in Miami-Dade and Broward counties since early July. Emergency response teams from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are helping Florida authorities investigate the outbreak, collect samples and control mosquitoes. So far no mosquitoes in Miami or elsewhere in Florida have tested positive for Zika.
Meantime, those on the frontlines are confident it can be contained.
“We know how to fight this mosquito. We’ve done it without the virus before successfully and we’re going to do it again,” said Ton
Despite that, the news of locally acquired cases in Florida may also affect tourism after a number of travel advisories were issued warning travelers to avoid the area.
The CDC – for the first time – issued an advisory that pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant should not travel to the area of Miami – since the virus has been linked to severe birth defects like microcephaly which leaves babies with abnormally small heads and developmental problems.
Late Wednesday evening, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen shared a letter signed by every Florida member of the U.S. House urging the CDC to reconsider their funding plan.
The letter read, in part:
“As you know, today the CDC announced that the State of Florida will receive $720,000 in new funding for detecting and monitoring microcephaly and other adverse birth outcomes as a result of Zika virus infection out of a total of $16 million that is being divided between 40 states and territories. This amounts to a paltry 4.5% of funding made available, despite the fact that almost half of all confirmed non-travel cases of the disease in the continental United States have now been linked to mosquito transmission in Florida.”
So far, health officials said the virus can be contracted only through mosquitoes or sexual contact with someone who had the virus.MORE NEWS: 'Intoxiflation': Despite Higher Prices, Floridians Will Continue Buying Booze Over Holiday Season