Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Health

More Zika-carrying mosquitoes captured in new neighborhood in Miami Beach

More mosquitoes carrying Zika virus have been captured in Miami Beach — this time in a new neighborhood, near the La Gorce Golf Course, Miami-Dade officials announced Saturday.

The batch of Zika-positive mosquitoes were retrieved on Sept. 20 from a trap at 575 West 49th St., a single-family home in the Lake View subdivision, making it the sixth such find since August and the first in Mid Beach. The other five locations were all in South Beach.

Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services tested the mosquito samples twice, and they will now be sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Protection for confirmation, said Mike Hernandez, a Miami-Dade spokesman.

"Miami-Dade has seen false positives on tested traps in the past," Hernandez said in a written statement. He added that two subsequent samples of mosquitoes taken from the same trap location have tested negative for the virus.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced the finding later Saturday afternoon, and also identified the trap location for the first time. The agriculture department has tested nearly 64,000 mosquitoes across Florida since May, and the six samples from Miami Beach are the only ones to test positive.

On Saturday, public health officials visited the neighborhood where the sixth sample was found to alert residents and distribute pamphlets, mosquito repellent wipes and other materials. Hernandez said county workers also inspected the area for mosquito breeding sites and sprayed insecticide within a 1/8-mile area surrounding the property.

The announcement will mark the first time that Miami-Dade officials identify the site of Zika-positive mosquitoes as soon as they received notice of test results from the state — a break in practice for the county, which previously had withheld the information from the public, including property owners and residents living at those locations.

The last time that state officials announced they had found mosquitoes carrying Zika in Miami Beach, Miami-Dade waited nearly a month to reveal all the sites — after the Miami Herald filed a lawsuit to get the locations — on Sept. 28.

After the revelation, Miami Beach residents living and working near those sites said public health officials never told them that the traps were as close as their back yards and school yards, potentially upping their risk. Subsequent samples captured at the same sites have been negative for the virus, Miami-Dade officials said.

Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services first announced on Sept. 1 that three of 19 traps in Miami Beach had captured Zika-positive mosquitoes — and identified only one location, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. A fourth batch was announced on Sept. 9, and a fifth on Sept. 16.

All of the infected mosquitoes were captured inside the 1.5-square-mile area initially identified on Aug. 19 as having active spread of the virus, between Eighth and 28th Streets from the ocean to the bay. The transmission zone was expanded north on Sept. 16 to a 4.5-square-mile area, covering all of South Beach and Mid Beach, from Eighth Street to 63rd Street.

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