The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already issued one Zika-related travel advisory in the United States, but that soon may expand to one of our country’s largest summer party cities.
STAT spoke with an anonymous health official who said that a number of cases that have popped up in Florida that can be linked to Miami Beach.
The publication confirmed that around 35 people have been infected with Zika who were connected with Wynwood, a neighborhood in downtown Miami. The CDC has already issued an advisory for pregnant women who are planning on traveling to the Wynwood area—the first one issued for the continental US—but this new development could mean an expansion of that advisory.
A Miami Beach commissioner told STAT that officials haven’t found a Zika-carrying mosquito yet. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, in a statement to The Washington Post, said that the outbreak was still confined to Wynwood.
“We still believe local transmissions are only occurring in an area that is less than one square mile,” he said.
Florida is generally awful in the summer due to all that humidity, but there could be negative consequences for the Miami tourism industry if this advisory goes through. The city saw a record 15.5 million visitors in 2015, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
And it’s not just Zika. Florida has been battling a number of invasive species, pests, and ecological disasters this year. Beach parties are only the start of where Florida’s tourism industry could suffer.
Update 8/19/16: The CDC confirmed today that active Zika transmission has been identified on a section of Miami Beach. The travel advisory for pregnant women and their partners has now been expanded to include this area as well as the previously identified Wynwood neighborhood. The CDC also advises that pregnant women concerned about Zika infection may want to consider postponing all non-essential travel to Miami Dade county.