On Friday August 19, federal health officials advised that all pregnant women and their respective partners hold off on traveling in any part of the tourism hub of Miami-Dade County following an increase in mosquito-born Zika transmission in Miami Beach.
This comes just three weeks after officials identified Miami’s Wynwood Art District as a transmission zone.
According to officials, the cauction has been extended to all of Miami because more than two cases have been reported outside of the Wynwood and Miami Beach areas, and they suspect that mosquitoes are spreading the virus faster and wider than initial assumptions.
“There are undoubtedly more infections that we’re not aware of right now,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden during a briefing.
Despite the heightened alert, local officials and business owners are assured that the Zika scare won’t be around long enough to have an impact on the city’s tourism.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine confirmed efforts that city is making to combat the virus during a news conference on Friday, citing city workers getting rid of standing water and foliage that could attract insects while the county has begun fumigation programs to combat the virus-carrying mosquitoes.
As of Wednesday, August 17, there have been 2,260 reported cases of Zika contraction within the United States, mostly contracted from travel outside of the country.
The 36 cases of transmission in Miami, however, have been the first known cases of local transmission of the virus.
“Anything that happens in Miami Beach reverberates around the world, that’s for sure. I learned that as mayor a long time ago,” said Levine. “Between our efforts and the county’s spraying efforts, the last thing I’d ever want to be on Miami Beach is a mosquito,” he reassured.