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More Zika mosquitoes captured in Miami Beach, county says

More Zika mosquitoes captured in Miami Beach, county says

Postby smix » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:41 pm

More Zika mosquitoes captured in Miami Beach, county says
Miami Herald

URL: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health- ... 92056.html
Category: healthNews
Published: October 1, 2016

Description: More mosquitoes carrying Zika virus have been captured in Miami Beach — this time in a new neighborhood, near the La Gorce Golf Course, Miami-Dade officials announced Saturday. The batch of Zika-positive mosquitoes were retrieved on Sept. 20 from a trap at 575 West 49th St., a single-family home in the Lake View subdivision, making it the sixth such find since August and the first in Mid Beach. The other five locations were all in South Beach. Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services tested the mosquito samples twice, and they will now be sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Protection for confirmation, said Mike Hernandez, a Miami-Dade spokesman. “Miami-Dade has seen false positives on tested traps in the past,” Hernandez said in a written statement. He added that two subsequent samples of mosquitoes taken from the same trap location have tested negative for the virus. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced the finding later Saturday afternoon, and also identified the trap location for the first time. The agriculture department has tested nearly 64,000 mosquitoes across Florida since May, and the six samples from Miami Beach are the only ones to test positive. On Saturday, public health officials visited the neighborhood where the sixth sample was found to alert residents and distribute pamphlets, mosquito repellent wipes and other materials. Hernandez said county workers also inspected the area for mosquito breeding sites and sprayed insecticide within a 1/8-mile area surrounding the property. The announcement will mark the first time that Miami-Dade officials identify the site of Zika-positive mosquitoes as soon as they received notice of test results from the state — a break in practice for the county, which previously had withheld the information from the public, including property owners and residents living at those locations. The last time that state officials announced they had found mosquitoes carrying Zika in Miami Beach, Miami-Dade waited nearly a month to reveal all the sites — after the Miami Herald filed a lawsuit to get the locations — on Sept. 28. After the revelation, Miami Beach residents living and working near those sites said public health officials never told them that the traps were as close as their back yards and school yards, potentially upping their risk. Subsequent samples captured at the same sites have been negative for the virus, Miami-Dade officials said. Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services first announced on Sept. 1 that three of 19 traps in Miami Beach had captured Zika-positive mosquitoes — and identified only one location, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. A fourth batch was announced on Sept. 9, and a fifth on Sept. 16. All of the infected mosquitoes were captured inside the 1.5-square-mile area initially identified on Aug. 19 as having active spread of the virus, between Eighth and 28th Streets from the ocean to the bay. The transmission zone was expanded north on Sept. 16 to a 4.5-square-mile area, covering all of South Beach and Mid Beach, from Eighth Street to 63rd Street. The sixth batch of Zika-positive mosquitoes reported Saturday is the first found inside the expanded area. Prior locations were identified after the Herald’s lawsuit triggered a dispute between the county and the Florida Department of Health about releasing the information. The county initially denied the Herald’s requests, claiming the records were exempt from Florida’s public records law because they were part of an epidemiological investigation. But on Sept. 27, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez sent a letter to State Surgeon General Celeste Philip, advising her that the county would release the locations unless otherwise instructed by the health department in writing. Both Philip and Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office responded that the county was free to notify the public. On Friday, while at a press conference hosted by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart regarding federal funds for Zika response, Gimenez said again that the Florida Department of Health had instructed the county to keep the information secret. “They quoted confidentiality concerns. They quoted HIPAA [federal patient privacy] laws ... So, our attorneys were very wary of that issue,” said Gimenez, who has since vowed that Miami-Dade will report all new finds of Zika-positive mosquitoes immediately. “It was never our intent not to make it public,” Gimenez added. “We were following the recommendations and basically the orders of the state not to do that. When the state decided not to join us, that’s when we said, ‘Wait a minute, you're not joining us? You're the ones telling us not to do this.’ That’s when this controversy came about. ... But if they don’t have an issue, then I certainly don’t have an issue.” A total of 948 people in Florida have contracted Zika this year, with 808 travel-related infections — including 97 pregnant women — and 139 local cases. One infection has been labeled “undetermined” after a health department investigation failed to identify the area of exposure.



Miami Beach residents not told when Zika-positive mosquitoes found nearby
Miami Herald

URL: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health- ... 27676.html
Category: healthNews
Published: September 28, 2016

Description: Miami Beach residents living and working near four sites where traps captured Zika-positive mosquitoes in August and September said public health officials didn’t tell them until Wednesday — after the Miami Herald sued to get the locations — that the traps were as close as their back yards and school yards, potentially upping their risk. “I feel it was a real failure of communication,” said Galen Treuer, 37, a student at the University of Miami who lives at 1236 Drexel Ave., one of four Miami Beach addresses identified Wednesday by Miami-Dade mosquito control officials. “They weren’t giving out information to reduce our exposure.” Paola Castro, a 33-year-old who lives in an apartment building at another of the sites — 1619 Meridian Ave., just south of Lincoln Road Mall — said she would have liked to have known, too. “That’s information they should say immediately, so people can take precautions, like not dressing in black and wearing repellent,” she said. Nearly all of the locations in Miami Beach where traps captured mosquitoes carrying Zika virus are in residential areas, though some are next to schools and near tourist destinations. The county identified four addresses in South Beach after the Miami Herald filed a lawsuit against Miami-Dade seeking the locations. In addition to the Drexel Avenue and Meridian Avenue sites, the county said the Zika-carrying mosquitoes were trapped at 932 Lenox Ave., a yellow, two-story townhouse on a residential block, and 2378 Prairie Ave., a single-family home across the street from Miami Beach Senior High and near Hebrew Academy’s Rabbi Alexander Gross High School, the Miami Beach Golf Club and the Bayshore Municipal Golf Course. A fifth site — Miami Beach Botanical Garden at 2000 Convention Center Dr. — was identified on Sept. 1, when Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services first announced that traps had captured mosquitoes carrying Zika. However, the garden had been closed three days prior to the announcement. The mosquitoes trapped at the five locations tested positive for Zika in late August and early September. But subsequent samples captured at the same sites have been negative for the virus, Miami-Dade officials said. On Wednesday morning, county mosquito control and Florida Department of Health workers fanned out across South Beach to notify residents before releasing the addresses. Residents said health department workers handed them plastic bags containing mosquito bite prevention pamphlets, repellent wipes and other supplies. Treuer said he had a conversation with Lillian Rivera, director of the state health department’s offices in Miami-Dade, and that she promised improvement in the agency’s communications. “She said they were going to do better in the future,” Treuer said. “But she didn’t explain why they hadn’t told us.” Many of those who live or work near the sites said they had not been using repellent regularly or taking other precautions, such as wearing long sleeves and pants — even as the number of mosquito-borne infections has been rising. The health department reported eight new local cases on Wednesday, including six in Miami-Dade. A total of 921 people in Florida have contracted Zika this year, with 792 travel-related infections — including 92 pregnant women — and 128 local infections. Health officials created a new category, “undetermined,” Wednesday for a single case. “It concerns me, and I’m pretty sure it concerns everyone else,” said Alex Flores, 40, a restaurant marketing agent who works on the 1200 block of Drexel Avenue, a few doors from one of the trap locations. “I’m not even wearing protection. Now, I’m going upstairs to put some spray on.” A resident of a yellow townhouse next door to the Lenox Avenue site, who would only give her name as Lauren S., said she knew health officials had placed a mosquito trap in the back yard in mid-August. But it wasn’t until Wednesday — a month later — that the 32-year-old learned they had captured mosquitoes that tested positive for Zika virus on Aug. 22. “Their withholding information was a disadvantage to the residents of Miami Beach,” she said. The woman said she plans to get tested for Zika now. “I was disappointed,” she said. “They said I shouldn’t have gotten mosquito bites, but I have been bitten. If they would have told us earlier, it would have been much better.” Asked why residents had not been informed earlier about their proximity to Zika mosquitoes, Mara Gambineri, a health department spokeswoman, said the responsibility to inform the public rested with Miami-Dade government. “That would be on mosquito control,” she said, “because they placed the traps there.” But Gayle Love, senior division director for Miami-Dade’s Solid Waste Management Department, which includes mosquito control, said county officials had kept the information secret at the state health agency’s request. “Mayor Carlos Gimenez has indicated that going forward, the county will notify property owners, and anyone else who inquires, about the location of Zika-positive mosquito pools,” Love said in a written statement. Love said that although Miami-Dade had not told residents about the infected mosquitoes’s proximity to their homes and workplaces, county inspectors treated storm drains in the areas, reduced breeding sites and sprayed insecticides using trucks and backpack foggers. In addition, Love said, the health department stepped up efforts to raise awareness in the community. At the two-story pink Mediterranean-style house on 2378 Prairie Ave. — next door to Miami Beach Senior High — an artist working there said that county workers had placed three mosquito traps in the back yard and side of the home about two months ago. Gian Bruno Hass, 59, said his brother-in-law owns the house. “I think the government should have enlightened us,” he said. Miami-Dade School District officials said they were first notified on Wednesday morning that Zika-positive mosquitoes had been captured near Beach High, but that the news likely would not have changed the approach they have already taken. “We’ve been very proactive, monitoring very aggressively any standing water,” said Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, a school district spokeswoman. “We’ve been communicating with parents and encouraging students to wear protective clothing. We’ve really, really stressed that.” Still, Gonzalez-Diego said, the school district placed automated phone calls Wednesday to parents of the estimated 6,500 students enrolled in public schools on Miami Beach to inform them of the news. Even at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, the only site previously identified as having Zika-positive mosquitoes, visitors said they were unaware of the threat — especially since there are no public warnings in sight. “They need to at least post a sign at the entrance that people can see,” said Ruben Pena, 20, a student who lives in Miami. Nico Schubert, 26, of Cologne, Germany, was walking through the garden on Wednesday shirtless and wearing only gym shorts, sneakers and a Boston Red Sox baseball cap. Asked if he was concerned about mosquitoes spreading Zika, Schubert said, “Not very much.” His mother, Regine Schubert, 58, is a biologist and said she, too, was not worried. She had not sprayed repellent on herself or taken other precautions against mosquito bites. “I don’t think I’m pregnant,” she said. Some Miami Beach residents also said they were not very concerned to find that Zika-positive mosquitoes had been captured in their yards or nearby. Sture Ostensson, 72, who lives at 1619 Meridian Ave., said he had noticed mosquito control workers at the property almost daily. The county’s mosquito trap is directly outside his front door. Ostensson said he was not home Wednesday morning when officials knocked on his door to alert him, but they left a plastic bag with pamphlets and repellent wipes hanging on his door knob. “I figured if they catch something, they would tell me,” he said after learning the news. The state agriculture department first announced that three of 19 mosquito traps in Miami Beach had captured Zika-positive mosquitoes on Sept. 1. A fourth batch was announced on Sept. 9, and a fifth on Sept. 16. All of the infected mosquitoes were captured inside the 1.5-square-mile area initially identified on Aug. 19 as having active spread of the virus, between Eighth and 28th Streets from the ocean to the bay. The transmission zone was expanded north on Sept. 16 to a 4.5-square-mile area, covering all of South Beach and Mid Beach, from Eighth Street to 63rd Street. Locations of Zika-positive mosquitoes were released after the Herald’s lawsuit set off a dispute between the county and the state health department about releasing the information. The county initially denied the Herald’s public records requests, claiming the records were exempt from Florida’s public records law because they were part of an epidemiological investigation. But Tuesday, Miami-Dade Mayor Gimenez sent a letter to State Surgeon General Celeste Philip advising her that the county would release the locations unless otherwise instructed by the health department in writing. Both Philip and Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office responded late Tuesday that the county was free to notify the public. Gimenez’s letter plus information in the records released Wednesday offer the most specific information yet about the five traps that captured mosquitoes carrying Zika:
* On Aug. 22, one sample tested positive from a trap at 932 Lenox Ave. Since then, 27 samples have been tested from that location, and all were negative.
* On Aug. 23, two additional samples at 1619 Meridian and the Botanical Garden tested positive for Zika. Since then, 45 samples from those two locations have been tested, all negative.
* On Sept. 4, a sample from 2378 Prairie Ave. tested positive. Since then, 17 samples have been tested and all were negative.
* On Sept. 9, a sample from 1236 Drexel Ave. tested positive. Ten more samples taken subsequently from the same area have tested negative for Zika.
The Herald filed suit Sept. 16 against the county seeking disclosure of the trap locations on grounds that the information would help the public make decisions about precautions to take if they live or work nearby, and also would inform the community debate on the use of the controversial insecticide naled, which is being used in Miami Beach to control the mosquito population. On Wednesday, Leah Schultz, an event planner who works in the 1200 block of Drexel Avenue, lamented that Zika was triggering cancellations by clients. Schultz also worried about the impacts from a recent case of mosquito-borne dengue reported Tuesday in Miami-Dade, but she said health officials need to inform the public. “It’s kind of scary,” Schultz said. “Today, when I heard there was dengue, I was like, really? I feel like we’re in a movie.”



First Zika, now dengue. New case pops up in Miami area
Miami Herald

URL: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health- ... 06196.html
Category: healthNews
Published: September 28, 2016

Description: Miami-Dade has its first 2016 case of locally acquired dengue fever. Health officials announced Tuesday night someone in the county contracted dengue fever. That person was treated and is expected to recover fully. The health department is checking if people close to the infected individual also have the virus. Although this is Miami-Dade’s first case of 2016, it’s Florida’s second. Dengue fever, like Zika, is carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. After anywhere between three days and two weeks, patients have symptoms including fever, a severe headache, eye pain, muscle and joint paint and bleeding, according to the Florida Department of Health. The symptoms last between four and seven days. There were no cases of dengue virus from 1934 to 2009. That year, officials found 22 people in Key West with the virus. The year after, that number tripled. The latest case was a tourist who caught the virus in the Keys in June. The only other major Florida outbreak was in Martin County. In 2013, the health department found 28 people with the virus. Miami-Dade residents can protect themselves from dengue by following all the Zika rules. Drain standing water so mosquitoes can’t breed; wear long sleeves and insect repellent.



Miami-Dade will release Zika-positive mosquito trap locations Wednesday
Miami Herald

URL: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health- ... 25381.html
Category: Politics
Published: September 27, 2016

Description: Miami-Dade County on Wednesday will release the locations of mosquito traps that captured Zika-positive insects in Miami Beach, the result of a public dispute between state and local officials after the Miami Herald filed a lawsuit seeking the information. The word came Tuesday evening, an hour after Gov. Rick Scott and Surgeon General Celeste Philip agreed that Miami-Dade can release the trap locations. “Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez will be releasing the locations [Wednesday] morning now that the Florida Department of Health has approved the dissemination of the information,” said Gimenez spokesman Michael Hernandez, adding that property owners at the locations will likely be notified Tuesday night or early Wednesday. Earlier Tuesday, Gimenez sent a letter to the state health department saying he would release the locations of the traps unless state health officials prohibited the action — in writing — by Wednesday afternoon. “This decision is one that is solely the county’s to make,” responded spokesman McKinley P. Lewis, a few hours later. “Gov. Scott encourages the county to disclose the locations of these traps immediately so that their residents may remain fully informed.” But both the state and county had previously refused to disclose the locations, denying public records requests filed by the Herald. They said the records were exempt from the public records law because they were part of an epidemiological investigation. The Miami Herald filed suit Sept. 16 against the county seeking disclosure of the trap locations on grounds that the information would help the public make decisions about precautions to take if they live or work nearby, and also would inform the community debate on the use of the controversial insecticide naled, which is being used in Miami Beach to control the mosquito population. On Friday, during a hearing on the case, a county attorney said in court that the state had instructed local officials to keep the trap locations secret. But the state insisted that the decision lies solely with the county, calling the county’s statements “completely false.” On Sunday, the dispute escalated, when both Gimenez and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine accused the Florida Department of Health of lying. “It is disturbing that the Florida Department of Health is denying previous directives to maintain confidentiality of the trap locations,” Gimenez said in a statement. He said the county had been “carrying out the express orders of the Florida Department of Health as it relates to disclosure of mosquito-trap information.” Tuesday, Gimenez sent his letter to Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip saying he planned to release the locations of the traps unless she told him by Wednesday that he could not. In an email Tuesday, Philip responded to Gimenez: “As you know, this decision is one that is solely the county’s to make,” she wrote. “We encourage you to disclose the locations of these traps immediately so that your residents may remain fully informed and we are happy to serve as a resource to you in this process moving forward.” So far, five batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for Zika in Miami Beach, where the active transmission zone for the virus covers two thirds of the island city. Only one of locations has been made public: the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, which had to close for a week in late August for mosquito treatment. In the letter on Tuesday, Gimenez wrote that “the county has maintained the confidentiality of these locations based solely on the prior and repeated instructions from the Florida Department of Health.” He also said state officials had contradicted themselves, a sentiment echoed by Levine. “Clearly in [Gov. Rick Scott]’s administration, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing,” Levine said in a text message. “I agree with Mayor Gimenez in that the state should allow this information to be made public.” Even as the dispute over the information came to a head Tuesday, the state health department reported four new local cases of the Zika virus in Miami-Dade. Officials said they are investigating where exposure occurred. One additional out-of-state resident has contracted Zika in Miami-Dade. The department reported no new cases in the zone where mosquitoes are transmitting the virus in Miami Beach, which stretches from Eighth Street to 63rd Street, and from the ocean to Biscayne Bay. In addition to the Zika cases, health officials announced late Tuesday that they had confirmed one person has contracted dengue fever in Miami-Dade. The individual has been treated and is expected to make a full recovery. The health department is contacting people close to the infected individual to see if anyone else has the illness. It is the second locally-acquired case of dengue in Florida this year, and the first in Miami-Dade.



Mayors say state told them to keep Zika mosquito sites secret
Miami Herald

URL: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/health- ... 93681.html
Category: Politics
Published: September 25, 2016

Description: The mayors of Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach on Sunday accused the Florida Department of Health of lying after the state agency said last week that it never told local officials to hide the locations in Miami Beach where mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus were captured. Florida’s health department strongly denied instructing local officials to keep the information confidential — and said the decision was entirely up to Miami-Dade — after the Miami Herald reported on Friday that a county attorney said the state agency had ordered them to keep it a secret. The statement was made during a court hearing for the Miami Herald’s lawsuit against Miami-Dade seeking the locations of traps in Miami Beach where mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus were captured this month. The suit seeks disclosure of the locations on grounds that the information would help the public make decisions about precautions to take if they live or work nearby, and also inform the community debate on the use of the controversial insecticide naled. On Sunday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is facing a runoff election in November, pushed back against the Florida health department’s denial with a written statement repeating that the agency had ordered secrecy in regards to the locations. “During multiple meetings, phone calls and conversations, officials from the Florida Department of Health explicitly stated to county officials that information identifying the addresses of traps containing mosquitoes positive for the Zika virus is confidential during active, ongoing epidemiological investigations,” Gimenez said in the statement. “It is disturbing that the Florida Department of Health is denying previous directives to maintain confidentiality of the trap locations,” Gimenez said in the statement. “At the end of the day, this is about the health and safety of our community, and we have been carrying out the express orders of the Florida Department of Health as it relates to disclosure of mosquito-trap information.” Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine corroborated Gimenez’s statement, which added that the state health department had ordered the information kept secret to protect the privacy of residents living in the areas where Zika-positive mosquitoes were captured. Levine said he was present when Florida health department officials, including Miami-Dade Director Lillian Rivera and state Surgeon General Celeste Philip, instructed county and city officials not to disclose the locations. He said Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also told him that the health department had ordered the information remain confidential. “Mayor Gimenez is only doing what the state told him, his staff, me and my entire staff, specifically, that they would not permit the county to release the information on the locations,” Levine said Sunday. “Lillian Rivera said it multiple times that she has been instructed and the department of health will not permit the locations of the traps to be released. That’s No. 1. No. 2, I remember hearing the state surgeon general saying it directly to us, Celeste Philip. And No. 3, Adam Putnam told me and the city manager directly in my office that. In fact, I reaffirmed it with Commissioner Putnam on the phone the other day, and he was dumbfounded.” Representatives for Florida’s department of health and agriculture did not immediately respond to the Herald’s request for comment on the mayors’ statements. Jennifer Meale, a spokeswoman for the agriculture department, replied to the Herald’s request in an email Sunday. Meale’s statement: “In consultation with the Department of Health, we believe the locations of the traps are exempt per 381.0031(6), F.S.,” a state statute governing information gathered during epidemiological investigations. On Friday, the health department issued a written statement denying the agency ever muzzled the county. “The statements made by the county today are completely false,” Mara Gambineri, a health department spokeswoman, said in an email. “At no time did the Florida Department of Health instruct Miami-Dade County to withhold the location of mosquito traps. This is solely the decision of the county.” Miami-Dade remains the only place in the nation identified as having active spread of Zika by mosquitoes, specifically in a 4.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach between Eighth and 63rd streets from the ocean to the bay. As of Friday, Florida’s health department reported a total of 105 local mosquito-borne Zika infections, most of those in Miami-Dade. An additional 773 travel-related Zika cases also have been reported in Florida, including 90 pregnant women.
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At least five traps in Miami Beach have captured mosquitoes that tested positive for Zika, but Florida officials have identified only one place: the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, which had been closed three days prior to the announcement.
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