The timing is good for the tourism industry: South Beach is free of active Zika transmissions just in time for the busiest winter months. But health officials should remain on guard — and visitors should keep themselves informed — because there are still isolated cases of the virus.
Florida’s governor and tourism officials are declaring victory over Zika in South Beach. But the virus remains a risk in Miami-Dade County.
Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that the popular tourist destination had been cleared of active Zika transmission.
Officials credited the beginning of South Florida’s cool winter season with suppressing disease-carrying mosquito populations, along with aggressive mosquito control measures.
Isolated Zika infections remain under investigation elsewhere in Miami-Dade County. Florida Health Secretary Celeste Philip says officials expect travelers to continue bringing Zika into the state. The virus also can be sexually transmitted.
Zika can cause severe brain-related birth defects when pregnant women become infected. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge Zika testing for all pregnant women and their partners if they’ve traveled to Miami-Dade County since Aug. 1.
Photo credit: A sanitation worker in Miami Beach prepares to clean up standing water as part of Zika eradication efforts in August. Friday, Florida's governor said the virus was no longer being actively transmitted in the area. C.M. Guerrero / El Nuevo Herald via AP