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By Gary Evans, AHC Media Senior Staff Writer
As Zika mosquito transmission spreads to another area of Miami, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant women against travel to the city and advising expectant mothers nationwide to be periodically tested for the emerging virus.
On July 29th, the first reported cases of local transmission of Zika via mosquitoes in the U.S. occurred in the popular Wynwood neighborhood in Miami. At an Aug. 19 press conference, the CDC confirmed spread has occurred in another area of the city.
‘Over the past 24 hours …. a new area of active Zika transmission has been identified in a section of Miami Beach,” Tom Frieden, MD, CDC director, said at the press conference. “…Those who live in or have traveled to the designated area of Miami Beach since July 14th, 2016, should be aware of active Zika virus transmission and people who have a pregnant sex partner should consistently and correctly use condoms to prevent infection when they have sex. Pregnant women and their sexual partners who are concerned about potential Zika virus exposure may also consider postponing nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County.”
Wynwood is in a less than one-square mile area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown. The new focus of transmission is a 1.5 square mile area in Miami Beach within the boundaries of 8th and 28th streets.
Despite an “aggressive response, the mosquitos are persistent and we won't know for at least another couple of weeks if these aggressive control measures have worked,” he added. “In recent weeks the Florida health department has also identified and investigated at least four other independent instances of mosquito-borne Zika transmission in Miami-Dade County. These are individual instances and do not represent spread throughout the area, but rather, are single cases.”
Florida health officials reported a total of 35 non-travel related Zika infections as of Aug. 18th.
“More broadly and not just with respect to Florida, all pregnant women anywhere in the U.S. should be evaluated for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit,” Frieden said. “These evaluations should include an assessment of the symptoms of Zika virus disease such as fever, rash, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis, their travel history, and their potential partners' exposure to Zika virus. …There are undoubtedly more infections that we're not aware of right now.”