Florida’s Last “Zika Zone” Is Lifted
On Friday Governor Rick Scott lifted the last “Zika zone” in the state making Florida clear of the locally-transmitted Zika virus for the first time since July.
Since arriving in Florida four zones of ongoing transmission of the virus had been identified and slowly cleared over the past few months. The last zone in the state to be lifted was located in the South Beach area of Miami Beach.
“The South Beach area now does not have any local transmission of Zika and that’s a very good day for our state,” Scott told ABC News.
Florida was the first state to have a Zika outbreak in the United States, but Texas announced its first case of a local transmission of Zika last month.
“We’re going to make sure that everybody knows that this state is open for business,” Scott said to reporters at the announcement.
With the announcement the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted the “red area” designation for South Beach neighborhoods, which warned pregnant women and couples trying to become parents to stay clear of the area.
Though the “Zika zone” has been lifted, Miami-Dade County is still considered a “cautionary yellow” area by the CDC due to past transmissions of the virus.
“Florida’s rapid response and comprehensive mosquito control program has allowed them to interrupt Zika transmission, but we must stay vigilant and also take what we have learned and be prepared for next season,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement released to ABC News. “Pregnant women who live or have been to this area should continue to be evaluated for Zika exposure during their prenatal visits to prevent the devastating effects Zika can cause in their infants.”
There have been 249 locally transmitted cases of Zika in Florida. The virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The virus causes mild symptoms in adults, but causes birth defects in pregnant women.