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Northern Part of Miami Beach Declared Zika-Free

Northern Part of Miami Beach Declared Zika-Free

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By    |   Tuesday, 22 November 2016 05:02 PM

A large portion of northern Miami Beach is now free of homegrown Zika transmission, although the problem still remains in South Beach, federal and state health officials say.

“Today, we have some good news for the northern part of the Miami Beach area, which was impacted. We are now able to clear it,” Gov. Rick Scott told local officials and media at a press conference on Tuesday.

The lifting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “red zone” designation of the area means that there have been no cases of homegrown Zika confirmed there for the past 45 days, Scott said.

The CDC also sent out a statement Tuesday afternoon, noting that, although the North Beach zone designation had been changed to “yellow,” the “red” zone designation remains in South Beach, the city’s primary tourist area.

“We understand this has been a difficult time for Miami Beach residents and tourists and we thank local and state officials for their hard work to interrupt the spread of the virus in the area,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in the statement.

“At this time, we are removing the red zone from North Miami Beach area but continuing the red zone for South Miami Beach. This means that we still advise pregnant women not to travel to the red zone in South Miami Beach,” he added.

“Furthermore, people living in or visiting Miami-Dade County, including Miami Beach, particularly pregnant women, are still encouraged to continue to take steps to prevent mosquito bites and to follow guidelines for preventing sexual transmission,” said Friedan. “We cannot let down our guard,” he added.

The newly lifted area is about three miles, from 28th street to 63rd street. The remaining areas where active Zika transmission is taking place is the area of South Beach, which runs from 8th to 27th streets, and a one-square-mile area in Miami known as Little River.

The lifting of the partial travel advisory for at least part of Miami Beach comes as the city is gearing up for Art Basel Miami Beach, the huge international art fair that also kick off the busy winter tourist season there.

Zika is considered a special risk to pregnant women – and couples intending to become pregnant – because the mosquito-borne virus causes microcephaly, a potentially deadly birth defect that can result in babies being born with too-small heads and brain damage, the CDC says.

Also in its latest update on Tuesday, Florida state health officials reported the total number of confirmed cases in Florida now stands at 1,201, a tally that includes 236 people infected by local mosquitos, as well as 950 travel-related infections, officials say.

To date, 163 pregnant women have been identified with the virus.

Zika increases the risk of a particularly devastating birth defect known as microcephaly, in which babies are born with severe brain damage, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says.

The only places in the U.S. where the infection is currently being spread by local mosquitos now is the South Beach area as well as a one-acre parcel in the Little River area of Miami, the state says.

Even though homegrown Zika is no longer actively being spread by local mosquitoes, this does not necessarily mean that infection is not possible, so precautions should still be taken, officials say.

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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Federal health officials lifted a travel advisory warning people about the spread of homegrown Zika in part of Miami Beach, although the South Beach tourist area still remains a "hot" zone.
Zika, virus, US, Miami, Beach, Florida
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 05:02 PM
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