New Cluster Of Zika Cases Linked To Local Mosquitoes Reported In Miami Beach

Image courtesy of photographynatalia

The tally of Zika cases linked to bites from local mosquitoes down in Florida has just grown, after health officials said they’ve identified new cases in Miami Beach.

The first mosquito-borne cases in Florida were all reported in one certain neighborhood in downtown Miami. Now, with this new cluster of cases that were most likely transmitted by local mosquitoes in Miami Beach, federal and state officials may advise pregnant women to avoid traveling to the city, and possibly expanding that warning to all of Miami-Dade County, The New York Times reports.

If that happens, it could be a sign that the potential threat posed by local mosquitoes has reached new heights. A broad travel advisory to avoid that entire area instead of just one zone could threaten tourism and cause pregnant women who live in the area to be more concerned.

The Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales confirmed that two Zika cases have been linked to Miami Beach: one in a tourist who visited the area two weeks ago, and another involving a local resident who works on the island. Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to hold a news conference today to discuss the recent developments.

Elsewhere in the state, officials are putting plans for genetically-modified mosquitoes on hold: federal regulators had approved a plan to unleash the insects in the Florida Keys on a trial basis, NPR notes, but the locals opposed it. The local mosquito control board hasn’t approved the plan yet, and instead put the idea on the November ballot as a nonbinding referendum.

The genetically modified male mosquitoes are intended to mate with wild females of the Aedes aegypti variety, which is the kind that is likely to transmit the virus. Their offspring die before reaching adulthood, thus, removing their potential to carry Zika.

Miami Beach Zika Cases May Prompt Call to Avoid City [The New York Times]