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Published On: Thu, Aug 25th, 2016

Targeting Mosquitoes To Control Zika

MIAMI BEACH, FL. – With the latest efforts by county officials to prevent the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, Miami residents are amongst the first in the entire country to deal with the ramifications of the Zika outbreak firsthand.

Back on July 29th, the first location of Zika transmission was identified inside the continental United States in Wynwood, a small area just north of downtown Miami. Officials announced that the neighborhood was under control after clearing a number of city blocks via the use of aerial spraying.

Just as the announcement was made, Miami’s South Beach reported new Zika cases, making them the second official location identified for outbreaks. Unfortunately due to its popular vacation destination status, tourists have been warned to avoid these areas until further notice.

In a recent written statement to the Miami Herald, the City Manager for Miami City Jimmy Morales noted that “Our strategy has been and will continue to be focusing on the elimination of potential breeding sites and educating our residents and businesses on what they need to do.”

According to the Herald, this is a region of Florida which relies heavily on its $24 billion annual tourism industry, and is home to roughly half of Miami-Dade County’s hotel rooms.

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito Image/James Gathany

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito
Image/James Gathany

They also report that just this year alone in Florida, 557 cases of Zika have been confirmed with 63 of them female and pregnant. Out of those, 33 were discovered to be locally transmitted and mostly originating from the area of Wynwood. There are currently no statistics for Miami Beach available.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued an extended travel advisory for Miami-Dade County, and is aimed specifically towards all pregnant women. To all foreign travelers to Florida, please check the appropriate online translation to read the advisory bulletin contents.

As a result of Zika spreading, the number one priority for Florida county officials is the targeting of mosquito populations directly through aerosol spraying. The use of an organophosphate insecticide called Naled is being used in areas where Zika cases are being reported.  

At the same time, area residents are disconcerted by the aerosol spraying of Naled and have been expressing concerns over its chronic health effects. After Naled is sprayed, it breaks down into a compound called dichlorvos which is reportedly toxic to the environment. As a result, some residents are protesting its use altogether because it was previously banned in Europe for the same reasons cited above.

While the spraying continues in Florida, the CDC recommends Zika virus testing to those bitten by mosquitoes in all affected areas. Specifically, for all women who are pregnant and may have been bitten. If you or your loved ones are concerned that you may have come into contact, the CDC advisory also recommends testing for those who may have had sexual relations with anyone in the affected areas anytime after July 14th, 2016.

To prevent the spread of this outbreak, please heed all warnings and reschedule your Florida vacation if needed. It’s best to stay alert until the advisories have been lifted.

Author: Michael Peggs

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. Rehaan says:

    So scared.

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