Earlier this week, officials have declared that the district of Wynwood is no longer an active transmission area for the deadly Zika virus.
The last cases of Zika were in August. Since then, there have been no reports of new ones. Authorities are now shifting their efforts towards nearby Miami Beach, which is still at risk.
After the first reports came in, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning for pregnant women not the visit the county. Even though authorities believe the area to be free of Zika, they still advise pregnant women to avoid the area.
The CDC believes their success in fighting off the deadly virus stems from their very aggressive spraying campaign. Two types of sprays were used. One was deployed from the air, and it targeted adult mosquitos. The other one was on the ground, and worked to kill off larva.
Wynwood was the first place on mainland US to report local Zika transmission cases. Up until then, US citizens had only contracted the disease from abroad. Luckily, health officials were quick to react, and exterminate the most likely carriers of the disease, mosquitos.
In some areas, officials have removed cylinder shaped plants that can trap water, all in an attempt to keep the local mosquito population in check. But in spite of their efforts, Zika-carrying mosquitos still crop up all around Miami Beach.
Local residents have voiced their criticism regarding the aggressive spraying measures. They fear their health is at risk, even though official have tried to reassure them and time and again that the spray is not harmful to humans.
Wynwood May Be Safe, But Zika Virus Continues to Spread
In spite of the success in eradicating the Zika virus in Wynwood, Miami Beach is still under threat. One of the reasons why it is more difficult to deal with the threat in this area is because buildings are quite tall, and wind gusts are powerful. This makes it very difficult for authorities to spray the area effectively.
As a result, the area of infection has increased to 4.5 square miles around South Beach. There have been a total of 85 local cases of Zika infections in Florida so far, not counting travel related ones. Of these, 36 are related to the Miami Beach area, with another 31 coming from Wynwood.
The Zika virus is not very harmful for adults. In some cases, it may lead to the development of Guillaume-Barre Syndrome. The virus however has devastating effects on unborn children, if their mothers contract the virus during pregnancy.
There are currently more than 700 reported cases of Zika virus infections all throughout the US. Authorities are doing everything they can to stop it from spreading at a local level. Recent floods have made the matter even more pressing. With rising waters, mosquito populations could grow. And since people lack shelter and resources, it is much harder for them to protect themselves against mosquitos.
Luckily, so far, the areas that were affected by the recent floods had no reports of local Zika transmission cases.
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