CDC relaxes Zika travel ban for Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their Zika-related travel guidelines for Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, lifting a advisory that recommended pregnant women avoid the area.

“We understand that this has been a difficult time for Wynwood residents and visitors,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Still, we encourage people not to let down their guard. We could see additional cases.”

In a new set of guidelines, the public health agency encouraged pregnant women and their partners to still exercise caution if they visit Wynwood. The guidance called for the at-risk group to follow steps to prevent mosquito bites. People who visited or lived in the area between June 15 to September 18 and are worried about Zika infection should also seek testing from their health care provider, CDC said.

The CDC implemented the ban on August 1, but aerial spraying of insecticides and case surveillance has since reduced transmission rates of the primarily mosquito-borne disease.

“When we announced Wynwood as the first place in our nation to have local transmission of the Zika virus, Wynwood was immediately sent into the national spotlight,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement. “Over the past few weeks, Floridians have worked together to prevent the spread of mosquitoes, take proper precautions to protect one another, and support local businesses in Wynwood.”

However, CDC health officials still advise that pregnant women and partners consider postponing non-essential travel to all of Miami-Dade county. The state’s health department initially opened 13 of its 17 active Zika investigations in Miami-Dade. Eight of those have since been closed.

But on Friday, health officials expanded the local transmission area for Miami Beach. They believe active transmission may be occurring across 4.5 square miles of the popular tourist destination.

Overall, Florida has reported 835 cases of Zika virus with 79 non-travel-related infections.

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