Zika virus is being actively transmitted by mosquitos in a section of Miami Beach, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Friday (August 19), warning pregnant women to avoid nonessential travel in the region and all people in Miami-Dade County to take measures to prevent mosquito bites. The announcement comes weeks after the CDC identified another area of Miami, the Wynwood neighborhood, to be the first zone of active transmission in the continental United States.
Isolated cases of Zika have emerged elsewhere in Miami-Dade County, but CDC investigations found no evidence of persistent transmission. Tom Frieden, the agency’s director, said during a Friday press briefing that “there are undoubtedly more infections that we’re not aware of right now. . . . It is not quick or easy to determine if cases are locally acquired and if they’re related.”
“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 told reporters. Zika is linked to microcephaly in newborns and, according to a recent mouse study, may cause brain damage in adults.
Frieden stressed the challenge of controlling local Aedes aegypti mosquito populations, which can carry the virus. “We can’t predict how long this will continue, but we do know that it will be difficult to control,” he said during the briefing.