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Miami Beach Renews Zika Fighting Effort

Miami Beach Renews Zika Fighting Effort

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By    |   Friday, 14 October 2016 04:45 PM

As the weather cools, Miami Beach officials are hoping stepped up spraying efforts – this time without naled – will help drive the Zika mosquito count down.

“We have already begun seeing much lower mosquito counts citywide. As we enter the cooler months of the year and start to see temperatures dropping, this will only further the reduction of the mosquito population,” city officials said Friday in a statement.

The city's statement also announced that preventative spraying efforts would be continuing now through the end of November, as trucks deploy BTi (Baccillus Thuringiensis Israelensis) to neighborhoods in the 4.5-square-mile area where local Zika transmission is occurring.

“It is important to note that there will be no naled sprayed from these trucks,” the city's statement stressed. The spraying of the highly toxic pesticide naled from planes had sparked strong resident protest in the resort community.

City officials credit naled with driving down mosquito counts in Miami Beach as well as in Wynwood, the state’s first “hot zone” for local transmission of the virus. Officials now say that no local transmission is occurring in Wynwood.

The state announced Thursday that homegrown Zika had been discovered in one-mile area of Miami near a neighborhood known as “Little River.” This marked the third hot zone since the Zika problem began.

Although there are thousands of cases of travel-related Zika in the U.S., that area and Miami Beach are the only locations where local transmission is occurring, officials say.

Also on Friday, state health officials confirmed one new case of homegrown Zika, with transmission having occurred in Miami-Dade County.

In addition, the state logged two more cases of travel-related Zika in Palm Beach County.

These new cases bring to 1,024 people in Florida have come down with the virus, which includes 156 homegrown Zika cases, state health officials said. Officials are also monitoring 106 women who were pregnant when infection occurred.

Zika infection in pregnant women is of particular concern because the virus causes microcephaly, a congenital form of brain damage in fetuses, the Centers for Disease Control says.

The CDC has advised pregnant women to avoid unessential travel within Miami-Dade County.

The Zika virus can make anyone sick for up to a week with the following flu-like symptoms:

  • Fever.
  • Rash.
  • Joint pain.
  • Red eyes.

There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, making prevention essential. Health experts recommend taking the following precautions:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants outdoors.
  • Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes breed.
  • Use repellents to keep mosquitoes away.
  • Use air conditioning and window screens if possible.
  • Call your health care provider if you are at risk of infection.

Last month, Consumer Reports released new rankings of mosquito repellents that offer the best protection against Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, the type that carry the Zika virus. They tested products containing deet, plantlike ingredients lemon eucalyptus and picaridin. The most effective products:

  1. Sawyer Fisherman's Formula Picaridin.
  2. Natrapel 8 Hour, with 20 percent picaridin.
  3. Off! Deepwoods VIII, w/25 percent deet.
  4. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus.

The magazine also recommended skipping products made with natural plant oils, such as California Baby Natural Bug Blend (a blend of citronella, lemongrass oil, cedar oil, and other ingredients) and EcoSmart Organic, (which includes geraniol, rosemary oil, cinnamon oil, and lemongrass oil).

Women who are pregnant or breast feeding can safely use deet, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535, according to the EPA.

Other tips for using insect repellents safely and effectively:

  1. Apply repellents sparingly, and only to exposed skin or clothing.
  2. Don’t apply repellents over cuts, wounds, irritated skin, or after shaving.
  3. When applying to your face, spray first on your hands, then rub in, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
  4. Don’t let young children apply repellents themselves
  5. Don’t use near food, and wash hands after application and before eating.
  6. At the end of the day, wash treated skin with soap and water, and wash treated clothing in a separate wash before wearing again.

The CDC advises people returning from travel to areas where Zika is present should continue to wear mosquito repellant for three weeks and refer to the agency’s published guidelines regarding sexual transmission of the virus.

 

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The City of Miami Beach is using a less toxic pesticide in its continuing efforts to get rid of the mosquito-carried Zika virus.
US, Zika, Florida, Miami, Beach
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2016-45-14
Friday, 14 October 2016 04:45 PM
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