MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach is ramping up its efforts to combat the spread of the Zika virus this week.READ MORE: 2 Tigers At Pittsburgh Zoo Test Positive For COVID-19
Along with aerial spraying for mosquitoes, starting this week, trucks will be sent out to spray in Zika zones between 8th and 28th Streets for the next four weeks.
From late Monday to early Tuesday, truck spraying will occur West of Washington Avenue between the hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. From late Tuesday to early Wednesday, truck spraying will occur East of Washington Avenue between the hours of 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The Buffalo Turbine trucks are meant to provide better ground coverage in targeting breeding areas and to reduce the mosquito population.
Miami Beach officials say the chemical being used – Baccillus Thuringiensis Israelensis (Bti) – is an environmentally-friendly organic compound that destroys the digestive system of mosquito larvae.READ MORE: 'I Can't Wait To Compete For Championships': New Miami Hurricanes Coach Mario Cristobal
According to the U.S. EPA, “Bti has no toxicity to people, so it can be applied safely to mosquito habitat without a detrimental impact on food crops or water supplies. In fact, Bti can be used for pest control in organic farming operations.”
The ramped up spraying comes a week after some mosquitoes in Miami Beach tested positive for the Zika virus – a first in the continental U.S. It’s a concern for public health considering the virus has been linked to severe birth defects in children born from mothers who contracted the virus.
As of Monday, there were 49 non-travel related cases of the virus in Florida and 576 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.