-- The Miami neighborhood where a local outbreak of Zika was first detected has been declared free of ongoing Zika transmission.
The first locally-acquired Zika cases in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami were reported in July. The neighborhood has been at the center of public health efforts to stop the virus from spreading in the U.S. At least 79 people have been reported to be infected via local transmission in Florida since the outbreak started.
Officials used both aerial and other forms of insecticide spraying to try and kill the Aedes aegypti mosquito that is responsible for nearly all of the virus transmission. The disease can also be spread through sexual contact.
“We understand that this has been a difficult time for Wynwood residents and visitors,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a statement today. “We’ve reached this point because of the tremendous progress with mosquito control in the affected area, including the combination of aerial application of the larvicide Bti and the adulticide Naled, and rigorous investigation of possible Zika infections by Florida health officials. Still, we encourage people not to let down their guard."
While the Wynwood neighborhood has been declared Zika-free, the outbreak remains ongoing since transmission and additional cases have been reported in Miami Beach.
"We could see additional cases," said Frieden. "People living in or visiting Miami-Dade County, particularly pregnant women, are encouraged to continue to take steps to prevent mosquito bites and to follow guidelines for preventing sexual transmission.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced an initiative to encourage people to visit the Wynwood area now that the virus appears to be contained.
"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," Scott said in a statement today. "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."
Scott called on Congress to pass a federal bill to help fund actions to prevent the Zika virus from spreading.