Fla. finds Zika in lo­cal mos­qui­toes in 1st for main­land U.S.

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Curt An­der­son and Kelli Kennedy

MI­AMI — Florida has found the Zika virus in three groups of mos­qui­toes trapped in Mi­ami Beach — the first time this has hap­pened in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. — and au­thor­i­ties are blam­ing a par­tic­u­lar flower for mak­ing mos­quito con­trol much more dif­fi­cult.

One of the traps that tested pos­i­tive was at the Mi­ami Beach Botan­i­cal Gar­den, where bromeli­ads bloom. The plants trap stand­ing wa­ter in their cylin­dri­cal cen­ters, pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent breed­ing ar­eas for mos­qui­toes amid their col­or­ful flow­ers and pointy leaves.

Mi­ami- Dade County Mayor Car­los Gimenez said Mi­ami Beach is re­mov­ing all bromeli­ads from its land­scap­ing and urged res­i­dents across the county to ei­ther pull them out or rinse them af­ter ev­ery rain.

And with Hur­ri­cane Her­mine bring­ing much more rain to Florida, Gov. Rick Scott on Thurs­day or­dered the county to im­me­di­ately con­duct aerial spray­ing by he­li­copter as rec­om­mended by the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

The Zika-car­ry­ing mos­qui­toes were trapped in a touristy 1.5- square-mile area of South Beach iden­ti­fied as a zone of ac­tive transmission of the virus, the Florida Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Con­sumer Ser­vices said in a news re­lease.

“This is the first time we have found a Zika virus­pos­i­tive mos­quito pool in the con­ti­nen­tal United States,” con­firmed CDC spokes­woman Erin Sykes.

Find­ing the virus in mos­qui­toes has been likened by the CDC to find­ing a nee­dle in a haystack, but the test­ing helps mos­quito con­trollers tar­get their ef­forts, and it con­firms that the in­sects them­selves, in ad­di­tion to in­fected hu­mans, have be­gun trans­mit­ting the virus in­side the main­land U.S.

Since July, au­thor­i­ties have linked a cou­ple dozen Zika cases to transmission in small ar­eas of Mi­ami’s Wyn­wood dis­trict and the pop­u­lar South Beach neigh­bor­hood of Mi­ami Beach. Other iso­lated cases not linked to travel out­side the U.S. also have been con­firmed else­where in Mi­amiDade County, as well as in neigh­bor­ing coun­ties and in the Tampa Bay area, to­tal­ing 49 for the state.

A poll re­leased Thurs­day sug­gests nearly 48 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are wary of trav­el­ing to U.S. des­ti­na­tions where peo­ple have been in­fected with Zika through mos­quito bites.

A third of peo­ple sur­veyed in the Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion poll be­lieve Congress should make ap­prov­ing more funds to com­bat Zika a top pri­or­ity. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama pro­posed $1.9 bil­lion in emer­gency fund­ing for Zika in Fe­bru­ary, but Congress has been un­able to agree on a fi­nal bill.

The poll of 1,211 adults con­ducted Aug. 18-24 has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 3 per­cent­age points.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.