New Zika Transmission Zone Found in Little Haiti, Little River

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Active Zika virus transmissions have returned to mainland Miami. Gov. Rick Scott's office announced a new "active transmission zone" this afternoon in the heart of Little Haiti and Little River. The one-square-mile area stretches from NW 63rd Street to NW 79th Street and from North Miami Avevenu to NW Tenth Avenue.

The Florida Department of Health says five people — two women and three men — have contracted the virus through mosquito bites in the area. Three people lived in the zone. Four new cases had been announced already; after the DOH finalized its investigation into the fifth case today, the department was able to identify the new transmission zone.

"Today’s announcement of a new area in Miami of ongoing local transmission of the Zika virus underscores the urgent need for federal funding to combat the Zika virus," Scott said in the release. "It has been two weeks since federal funding to fight Zika was approved by Congress and signed by President Obama. However, Florida has not yet received a dime. We don’t need bureaucratic timelines – we need funding now."
Scott's office has not yet announced whether planes will douse the area with naled, a controversial neurotoxic pesticide banned in the European Union but legal in the United States. In certain instances, naled can degrade into a chemical called dichlorvos, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for decades has listed as a "possible carcinogen." 

Naled's aerial spraying sparked major protests in Miami Beach. Dr. Phil Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami and a biologist at Florida International University, released a study claiming the Miami-Dade County's aerial naled sprayings weren't working to kill the Zika virus in Miami Beach specifically. But the county refutes his findings, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says naled is a vital tool to combat the disease.

More than 1,000 Floridians have been infected by Zika, according to the state's latest figures. As of yesterday, 153 people caught the disease from Florida mosquitoes.

Though Wynwood's status as an active transmission zone has been lifted, the state and CDC have not yet removed their travel warnings for Miami Beach.

Zika-carrying mosquitoes breed in extremely small amounts of standing water, so the state urges residents to drain or cover any sources of standing water around their homes.

"Today I am requesting the CDC to work directly with the Miami Dade Mosquito Control District to identify best practices for defeating Zika in this new area," Scott said in the statement. "We know every area is different, and I hope the federal government will provide guidance to the county on how to protect residents and visitors."

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