The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel warning for Wynwood, a neighborhood in Miami where 14 people have been infected with mosquito-borne transmissions of the Zika virus. At the request of Florida Governor Rick Scott, the CDC is sending an Emergency Response Team to Miami to assist in the investigation and response effort.
"I have requested that the CDC activate their Emergency Response Team to assist DOH in their investigation, research and sample collection efforts," said Governor Scott in a statement. "Their team will consist of public health experts whose role is to augment our response efforts to confirmed local transmissions of the Zika virus."
CDC believes this is the first time that the organization has warned against travel to avoid a community in the continental United States, according to USA Today.
Pregnant women are warned against any travel in the Wynwood neighborhood. Anyone who lives in or has traveled to the neighborhood and is pregnant or has a pregnant partner is also advised to use condoms if they have sex, or they should avoid sex entirely during pregnancy. Also, the CDC advises pregnant women who live in or frequently travel to the area to be tested in the first and second trimester of their pregnancy.
The Miami cases are the first domestic infections to be transmitted by mosquitoes, with 10 new infections announced today. The outbreak is currently limited to a one-square mile area just north of downtown Miami. (The transmissions are believed to be occurring within the boundaries of NW 5th Avenue to the west, US 1 to the east, NW/NE 38th Street to the north, and NW/NE 20th Street to the south.) Six of the 10 new patients reported no symptoms and were identified by a door-to-door survey by Florida’s Department of Health.
Democrats, including Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), have demanded that the Republican-controlled Congress reconvene from its summer recess to pass a Zika-funding bill that has been on hold since the end of June. Senate and House negotiators had been working to reconcile conflicting bills in the two houses to provide funds to fight the outbreak. The recent growth in infections could provide leverage needed to pass a funding bill.
The Department of Heath has begun to contract with commercial pest control companies in Miami to "enhance and expand mosquito mitigation and abatement" in the area. The State of Florida has established a Zika Virus Information Hotline at 1-855-622-6735 for current Florida residents and visitors, as well as anyone planning travel to Florida in the near future.