Florida Not Yet On CDC’s Zika Travel Advisory List

Aug 1, 2016
Originally published on July 31, 2016 9:32 am

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not adding Florida or Miami to its list of areas where pregnant women should avoid traveling. 

Officials in Miami and Orlando caution against panic, and the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are no plans to recommend limiting travel to South Florida.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs says potential visitors to Florida shouldn't think twice about coming to the Sunshine State.

Jacob's jurisdiction covers the Orlando area's major theme parks in the Orlando area. She says Florida's theme parks have some of the best mosquito control measures in place that she knows of and that the parks are safe.

These are the first cases of locally-acquired Zika virus in the continental U.S. The local transmission appears confined to the Wynwood neighborhood, a one-square-mile area north of Miami’s downtown.

“All the evidence we have seen indicates that this is mosquito-borne transmission that occurred several weeks ago in several blocks in Miami,” said Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, in a news release. “We continue to recommend that everyone in areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are present— and especially pregnant women — take steps to avoid mosquito bites. We will continue to support Florida’s efforts to investigate and respond to Zika and will reassess the situation and our recommendations on a daily basis.”

Florida Governor Rick Scott confirmed Friday at the Orange County Department of Health that four cases of Zika virus in South Florida were caught from local mosquitoes. Scott said OneBlood, the state's largest blood bank, will get more than $600,000 to test all blood collected in Florida for Zika.

“We’ll be working with the FDA and blood establishments in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to test each individual unit of blood collected," Scott said. "Additionally, statewide, we will insure safe blood for pregnant women by screening units from county without Zika.”

Scott said Florida is still open for tourists.

“We’re a tourism state, we continue to welcome families here, but we continue to tell people to stay prepared and wear mosquito spray,” Scott said.

Zika is a mild virus in adults, but can cause brain birth defects if caught in-utero. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson renewed calls for Congress to reconvene and pass a federal ZIka funding bill.

Some residents of Miami's Wynwood neighborhood, a trendy neighborhood of art galleries and boutiques, say they plan to stop eating outside.

Property manager Marlon Lizano says the news is scary. He regularly eats lunch outside but now says he will start eating indoors.

Jenny Gray, who works for an art designer in Wynwood, says she is concerned and plans to start wearing bug repellant.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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