MIAMI — Florida Gov. Rick Scott has lifted the final zone of active Zika transmission in Miami-Dade, eliminating the last hot spot where mosquitoes were transmitting the virus.
The governor held a news conference at the Betsy Hotel in South Beach Friday to make the announcement. The lifting of the zone comes nearly four months after health officials first reported that mosquitoes were spreading the virus in a 1.5-square-mile area between Eighth and 28th streets from the ocean to the bay.
Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip said although Miami-Dade has hit a milestone on battling the mosquito-spread Zika, people need to continue to wear mosquito repellant and eliminate standing water.
"We must remain on alert and continue all of the protective efforts that have led to this success," she said.
Scott was joined at the news conference by local tourism boosters who have eagerly awaited this day.
The elimination of the zone of active transmission removes the warning to pregnant women to avoid travel from the area. A broader warning remains in place for the whole county advising pregnant women and those who may become pregnant to consider postponing non-essential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade.
Officials have already acknowledged that Zika could return in 2017, partly due to the amount of travel of between Miami and places where the virus continues to spread, such as Brazil and Puerto Rico. Friday's announcement also coincided with cooler temperatures as South Florida enters the winter season and exits mosquito season. When wetter weather returns and the mosquito population grows, there could be new cases.