Health officials have been scrambling to get a handle on the Zika virus as a total of 14 cases likely transmitted by local mosquitoes have been identified in Florida. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent an emergency team to the Miami area to assist with its investigation of the outbreak.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said on FOX Business Network’s Cavuto: Coast-to-Coast that he hopes to isolate the virus to a one-square-mile area in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami.
“The State of Florida Health Department has been testing people around the area. The good news is yesterday’s batch of urine tests came back negative, so we are continuing to focus in on Wynwood,” Gimenez said.
A majority of the Wynwood residents are made up of a large Puerto Rican and Southern American population who may have picked up the Zika virus from their travels to their homeland.
“The reason that we have so many cases of travel related Zika in Miami is that we have 60% of the people in Miami-Dade were born somewhere else and a lot them travel back and forth between their native countries and Miami," he said.
According to the CDC, many people infected with the Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptom that can last for several days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told FOX Business Network’s Liz Claman on Monday that a virus outbreak across America is unlikely, but the challenge is preventing pockets of outbreaks from spreading further.
“There will be pockets in the country, such as what we’re seeing in Florida now and what we might see in Texas and other Gulf Coast states, where you could have an outbreak that hangs around and is sustained for several months or longer,” Fauci said.
The mayor hopes to quickly eradicate the virus and has extended its adulticide aerial spraying to 10 square miles and two square miles of larvaecide spraying in the next couple of days.
“We have to continue [having] are guard up and we are giving the same message to all our residents, and basically is, if you are going outside, especially during the early morning and early evening hours, when the mosquitos are active, to wear long clothing and use some mosquito repellent,” Gimenez told host Charles Payne.
Mayor Gimenez said the biggest tourist destinations, such as Miami Beach, are relatively safe due to the prevailing breezes that keep the mosquitos away.
“Zika really only affects a small percentage of people. Most people that actually get bit and have the disease or catch the virus don’t even know they have it,” he said.