Local transmission of the Zika virus has occurred in Miami Beach, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Friday. It is the second area in Miami-Dade County to report a local outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease, which can cause birth defects.
The announcement is the result of a state health department investigation, which discovered five cases in the area without links to international travel. This event raises Florida’s tally of local transmissions to 36. Overall, the state has recorded more than 500 cases of the virus.
The region of interest encompasses just under 1.5 square miles of Miami Beach. Wynwood, the location of the first batch of local Zika cases, is seven miles away from Miami Beach, and the two neighborhoods are connected by bridge.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory for the 20-block area of Miami Beach where local transmission happened.
“Women and men who live in or who have traveled to the designated area of Miami Beach since July 14, 2016 should be aware of active Zika virus transmission,” the CDC wrote in statement. The public health agency advises pregnant women and their sexual partners to avoid this area of Miami Beach, as well as consider postponing nonessential travel to all of Miami-Dade county.
“Following today’s news, I am asking the CDC for an additional 5,000 Zika antibody test kits to ensure we can quickly test people for the virus and additional lab support personnel to help us expedite Zika testing,” Scott said. His office stated that aggressive testing had already ruled out portions of Wynwood as areas of active transmission.
During a separate press briefing, CDC director Tom Frieden said the 5,000 tests would arrive by Tuesday.
“We’re in the midst of mosquito season and expect more Zika infections in the days and months to come,” Frieden said. “It’s difficult but important that pregnant women make every effort to avoid mosquito bites and avoid going to areas where Zika is spreading…It is difficult to predict how long active transmission will continue.”