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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Health officials said Thursday they would not be surprised if they found more locally acquired cases of the Zika virus in the Miami area of Wynwood.
The 500 square foot area in Wynwood is considered ground zero for health officials.
“We would not be at all surprised if we find additional cases within that square foot area,” said U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden.
President Barack Obama spoke later in the day and reiterated the point.
“We do expect to see more Zika cases,” said Obama.
Frieden alongside Florida Governor Rick Scott and Miami-Dade Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak updated the public on the latest Zika developments.
So far, Scott said they have tested over 2,400 people in the state for active Zika or Zika antibodies and they plan to continue testing.
“The CDC will continue to look at the area to make sure there are no active cases of Zika,” said Scott.
Miami-Dade County is looking into the possibility of larvicide spraying this weekend, said Deputy Alina Hudak.
The governor and health officials said the community must also do their part as well and take precautions.
“At no time should there be any standing water. It will help reduce the number of mosquitoes we have,” said Scott.
“The key is to protect pregnant women,” said Frieden who also warned the public to get rid of standing water. “This mosquito can breed in a bottle cap.”
Meantime, at least 15 cases of locally transmitted Zika have been reported in Miami-Dade County and Broward County.
On Thursday, mosquito control sprayed a ten square mile area in Miami with the insecticide Naled meant to kill mosquitoes and hinder the spread of the virus. The attack on Zika from the ground is also being ramped up but health officials acknowledge the spraying hadn’t been working as well as they hoped.
“Mosquito counts in the Wynwood area were not coming out as we would have hoped. Now, we don’t know why that was. That could have been because it was resistant to the chemicals being used. That could have been because there is still la lot of standing water. That could have been simply because this is a really tough mosquito to control,” said Frieden. “Now they’re using different chemicals…it appears to have been very effective because they had very high kill rates in the mosquito traps there.”
Meantime the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is testing a Zika vaccine that uses DNA, similar to research on other mosquito-borne viruses including the West Nile virus.
President Obama says the development of the vaccine may be halted if they do not receive additional funding to fight the spread of the Zika virus.
“Now the money we need to fight Zika is running out,” said Obama. “This is not the time for politics…..Zika is a serious threat to Americans especially America’s babies.”