Tags: Zika Virus | Zika | U.S. | Governor | Scott | Miami | Beach

Gov. Scott Vows to Rid Miami of Zika

Gov. Scott Vows to Rid Miami of Zika

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By    |   Friday, 21 October 2016 07:44 PM

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has renewed his pledge eliminate homegrown Zika from Miami-Dade County, the only place in the U.S. where the disease is locally spreading.

“I know that everyone here is very concerned about how we can stop the spread of Zika. Our goal is to have no ongoing transmissions,” Scott said Friday.

At a meeting in Miami,  Scott, along with state and county health officials, updated community leaders on what county workers are doing to eliminate the Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

The meeting took place at St. Mary Cathedral School, which is in the Little River area of Miami, the state's latest Zika hot spot.

Last week, state officials announced that Zika was being actively transmitted by local mosquitoes in the one-square-mile area.

They took the step after identifying a five-case cluster of Zika cases there. Since then, an additional case has been confirmed, state officials say.

The methods being used include the ground spraying of larvicide and adulticide to eradicate the female insect-carrying mosquitoes  and their eggs.  But no aerial spraying is planned, at least for now, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told Scott.

“We don’t have a plan right now for spraying in this area. When we look at the outbreak it seems to be very localized. We probably even know the exact spot it happened in,” Gimenez said. 

The county has conducted aerial spraying with naled, in other Miami Zika zones, but the use of the highly toxic pesticide is highly controversial.

Also on Friday, state health officials reported three more homegrown Zika infections. One is linked to Miami Beach, and an investigation is under way to learn where the other two cases occurred.

This brings the number of Zika cases in Florida to 1,051, which includes 169 homegrown cases and 747 travel-related infections.

That total doesn’t include 111 women who were pregnant when they contracted the virus, officials say.

These women, along with their babies after they give birth, are closely followed because Zika causes microcephaly, a type of congenital brain damage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

On the whole, Gimenez says he is proud of the county's effort to contain the virus. "But we still have a ways to go," he added.

Scott visited the area at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, who says she’s concerned been concerned that the Little River area could be overlooked.

“We don’t have all the tourist attractions that are in Wynwood or Miami Beach, but people are going to be affected here as well,” Wilson said.

The Little River zone runs from between Northwest 79th and Northwest 63rd streets and from Northwest 10th Avenue to North Miami Avenue.

The Wynwood neighborhood of Miami was the first zone to be designated, but that area was declared free of homegrown Zika in September.

A 1.5 area of Miami Beach, which includes South Beach, was the second designated, and later, a 3.5 section of mid-beach in that city was added. Although both are in Miami Beach, officials count those as two separate zones.

In addition to the health impact of Zika, economic officials are concerned about the impact of the virus on city’s $24.4 billion tourism economy.

“The Miami brand is so strong and powerful that Zika is not going to stop it,” William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the tourism bureau, said after the meeting, although he acknowledged that there was some “softness,” in the conference business that could be attributed to the virus.

This week, the CDC toughened up its warnings, telling pregnant woman, as well as women and their partners planning to get pregnant, to steer clear of Miami Beach, as well as void non-essential travel in Miami-Dade County.

The department has conducted Zika virus testing for more than 9,309 people statewide. Florida currently has the capacity to test 8,810 people for active Zika virus and 6,667 for Zika antibodies. At Governor Scott’s direction, all county health departments offer free Zika risk assessment and testing to pregnant women.

Scott says that he believes the state has enough testing kits to comply with the CDC’s new mandate, but officials acknowledged there could be four-to-six weeks between the time a pregnant woman is tested and she receives the results.

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:

  • Sawyer Fisherman's Formula Picaridin.
  • Natrapel 8 Hour, with 20 percent picaridin.
  • Off! Deepwoods VIII, w/25 percent deet.
  • 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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Although new cases are still being confirmed, Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his pledge to rid Miami of the Zika virus.
Zika, U.S., Governor, Scott, Miami, Beach
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2016-44-21
Friday, 21 October 2016 07:44 PM
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