Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade County is Zika free.
The official word will come on Friday. The last remaining zone, the areas between 8th and 28th Street on Miami Beach, are expected to be lifted.
“It will be the fourth and final Zika zone that would be lifted,” says Michael Hernandez, Director of Communications for Miami-Dade County. “This is because it will be 45 days without a confirmed case within the city of Miami Beach.”
The news comes after businesses along the beach took an economic hit as some tourists chose to stay away. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine says lifting the zone over his city will ease the fears of tourists.
“I think September and October, we definitely felt a little bit of the disruption because of the news,” he says. “Obviously, Art Basel was a smashing success and you can tell by the traffic a lot of people are here and it’s been great. It’s come back dramatically.”
Levine, who traveled to the CDC in Atlanta this week, says the good news doesn’t mean the fight against Zika is over.
“We just have to be diligent because this is a fact of life that we have to live with and we want to make sure that we don’t have the same situation next summer,” Mayor Levine said.
Scientists around the world are keeping their eye on South Florida because, with the lifting of the Miami Beach Zika zone, the state has done something that’s never been done before.
“We are the only community in the world, not just the United States, in the world, to have had local transmissions of Zika confirmed and eradicated by our local county mosquito control and world,” says Hernandez. “And what we’re looking to do now is work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a vaccine, so that within two years, hopefully, maybe even less, will have a vaccine against Zika and can hopefully avoid any future outbreaks.”
To date, Florida has had 972 travel related cases, 249 locally acquired cases and 180 cases of lab results showing Zika infections in pregnant women.