Zika virus in Miami: what is the deal? It was only a matter of time before Zika virus would appear in the US. By 2015, the virus had spread all over South and Central America and it was inevitable that it would reach the US. Last month the first 14 cases of Zika virus were reported in Miami. It is believed by authorities that these 14 cases of Zika virus are due to bites from local mosquitoes and not from travel to the Caribbean or South America. Experts from the CDC believe that the local mosquitoes in Miami got the virus after biting a sick traveler from South America.
So what is the big deal about Zika virus?
It is known that this particular virus can cause severe malformations of the head and brain when it infects the pregnant mother. Plus, it is now known that the Zika virus can also be transmitted sexually. So what does this mean for Miami? Well, at least 100 millions visitors come to Miami every year and already some countries have warned pregnant women against traveling to Miami. In addition, the CDC has also warned women in the US not to travel to certain parts of Miami if they are pregnant. Miami also is a top contender for the most fornicators and sexual spread of the virus is not unrealistic.
Miami is completely dependent on tourism and if the Zika virus starts to spread, then it will put a halt to the tourism industry. In order to thwart the Zika virus, public health officials in Miami have started dusk to dawn spraying of anti-mosquito sprays in certain areas. The aim is to decimate the mosquito population. But already some residents in Miami say that they would rather be bitten by mosquitos than be exposed to the deadly droplet of chemicals used to kill mosquitoes. These people are now demanding that they also have a say in the spraying.
At issue is the use of Naled, an insecticide that was once used to control mosquitoes in the 50s. It has never been approved for use in the homes but the EPA says that it is safe. The public seems to think otherwise. EPA fact sheet shows that naled is toxic and can even be fatal but so far only 10 naled related cases have been reported to Florida poison control. In fact the EPA say that Naled is relatively safe and only causes minor burns and headaches.
Unfortunately people in Miami do not agree and want Naled out. The other problem with naled is that it also kills honeybees and just recently 2 million honeybees died in South Carolina after aerial spraying. So far Puerto Rico has refused permission to the CDC to spray naled in their jurisdiction, despite widespread infections from Zika virus.
So far Florida official are saying that naled is only being sprayed in Miami’s Wynwood district and South Beach area. At last count there were nearly 86 infections involving pregnant women and 77 other cases of Zika virus contracted in Florida. Miami commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez has said that the city will be sprayed whether the citizens like it or not, because Zika virus is a public threat.
So if you live in Miami and do not agree with the commissioner you have two choices: 1) stay indoors all the time, use a mosquito net, wear long sleeved garments and a hat, use AC all the time and do not have sex or 2) move out of state.