Gov. Rick Scott lifts Zika infection zone in Miami Beach

Posted at 11:08 AM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 11:08:03-05

Florida's governor says South Beach is no longer an active infection zone for the Zika virus.

Gov. Rick Scott was joined by tourism officials Friday to make the announcement.

The first cases of Zika transmission through mosquito bites on the U.S. mainland were reported in July in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood. Health officials announced that area was free of active Zika transmission in September.

South Beach is the last of three other neighboring Zika infection zones to be cleared.

Florida health officials said Thursday that 249 people had contracted Zika in the state.

Zika can cause severe brain-related birth defects when pregnant women become infected.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce that the remaining Miami Beach area has been cleared of any ongoing active transmission of the Zika virus. This means that Florida does not have any identified areas with active Zika transmission, which is incredible news for the Miami Beach community and our entire state. Miami Beach attracts millions of people each year with its beautiful beaches, world-class hotels, vibrant restaurants, shops and events, and lifting this zone sends a message across the world that Miami Beach remains a top tourist destination. I encourage everyone to take an opportunity to come visit this incredible community as soon as possible and support the many businesses here.

While it is disappointing that the federal government has not been a good partner in providing resources and funding to fight Zika, the State of Florida has been fully committed to doing everything we can to keep our families and visitors safe. I look forward to having a new partner in the White House who will work with us to combat the Zika virus.

Since our first case of active Zika transmission, DOH has tirelessly worked alongside their many local partners and community members to educate Floridians and visitors, prevent the spread of mosquitoes, and combat the Zika virus. While today’s announcement is great news, we must all remain vigilant by continuing to dump standing water and wear bug spray. We have learned a lot this year about battling Zika and the importance of using aggressive mosquito control measures and we cannot let the lifting of this final zone or the upcoming winter allow us to become complacent. We must all remain fully committed to doing our part to keep Florida clear of active Zika transmission in order to protect pregnant women and their developing babies.”