Florida health officials have not reported a locally transmitted Zika virus case since Tuesday and the tally remains at 56. Despite this good news, the travel associated cases continue to climb with the total through Friday now at 616, including 84 infections involving pregnant women.
On Wednesday, Miami Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez released the following statement concerning aerial spraying in Miami Beach:
The City of Miami Beach hosted an emergency workshop to discuss our ongoing efforts to keep our residents and visitors safe from the Zika virus. Yesterday, in consultation with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Rick Scott’s Office, the Florida Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture, I directed Miami-Dade County’s Mosquito Control team to begin adulticide aerial spraying in the 1.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach where locally-acquired cases of Zika have been confirmed and three mosquito traps have tested positive for Zika. I announced yesterday that the spraying would begin Thursday around 5:00 a.m.
This prompted a protest outside Miami Beach city hall. The issue was the use of the pesticide, Naled.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Naled is an insecticide that has been registered since 1959 for use in the United States. It is used primarily for controlling adult mosquitoes, but is also used on food and feed crops, and in greenhouses. For mosquito control, naled is applied as an ultra-low volume (ULV) spray. ULV sprayers dispense very fine aerosol droplets containing small quantities of active ingredient insecticide that drift through the air and kill mosquitoes on contact. The amount that reaches the ground is small. For mosquito control, the maximum rate for ground and aerial application is very small.
When applied according to label instructions, Naled can be used for public health mosquito control programs without posing risks to people.
Naled is sprayed out in very fine droplets so it stays airborne. They say the amount sprayed is about two tablespoons for an area about the size of a football field.
This caused Mayor Gimenez to issue an additional statement on Thursday:
During today’s meeting with the City of Miami Beach, City leadership, and residents asked for more time to prepare and inform Miami Beach residents and visitors about our aerial spraying plan. In consultation with health experts and the City of Miami Beach, we have agreed to delay aerial spraying with adulticide by one day. We will begin spraying on Friday around 5:00 a.m, weather permitting, and will spray this Sunday, and the following two weekends. This schedule will minimize disruption to our school children and families.”
Through Sep.7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 2,920 travel associated Zika cases, 24 sexually transmitted cases and seven cases of Zika related Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS).
In addition, the federal health agency reports 22 Zika-affected pregnancies, of which 5 were losses.