The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that a new pocket of local Zika virus transmission has emerged in Miami Beach, adding yet another area in southern Florida for travelers to avoid.
“We now recommend [that] pregnant women should avoid travel to the designated area of Miami Beach, in addition to the designated area of Wynwood,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said during a conference call.
The announcement of a second Miami neighborhood experiencing ongoing local transmission came within 24 hours of the Miami Beach area being identified as a potential hazard, according to Dr. Frieden. Public health officials notified the public in late July about Zika virus transmission in the Wynwood neighborhood; in addition, there have been at least four other cases of independent mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus, but the CDC noted that these are not indicative of the disease spreading or becoming locally transmitted to a significant extent.
For those living in or near the affected areas, Dr. Frieden urged that they “do everything they can to prevent mosquito bites,” including wearing clothing that covers as much of the body as possible and using bug repellent, among other things. Those who traveled to the Miami area on or after July 14 of this year should use protection while having sex with their partners to prevent transmitting the virus that way. Women should wait until at least 8 weeks after onset of Zika virus symptoms before attempting to get pregnant.
“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,” said Dr. Frieden. “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.”
Dr. Frieden said that the CDC will continue monitoring the situation on a daily basis and make any further announcements, along with changes to current guidelines and recommendations, as necessary.