Three more cases of Zika virus transmission have been reported from the outbreak area in northern Miami, making a total of 25 cases reported to date.
ABC News reports the news came just hours after Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the size of the outbreak area has been reduced through aggressive mosquito control efforts, removing four square blocks of the Wynwood neighborhood from the area of concern.
“Health officials now believe all Zika virus transmission is occurring within an area less than a square mile in northern Miami,” said the ABC report.
The Miami Herald happily adds that the monthly Wynwood Art Walk was held successfully on Saturday, after weeks of concern that the Zika scare would reduce crowd sizes, having already produced a “steep drop in business” for the area, turning it into a veritable “ghost town.”
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado was on hand for the Art Walk, while local establishments offered discounts and free parking to entice customers. Also helpful, according to the Herald, were crowds of blue-shirted “Goodwill Ambassadors” who “passed out bug repellent wipes and pamphlets with information about the virus and prevention.”
Pamphlets were also distributed by a group protesting against naled, one of the pesticides that has been sprayed in the area around Wynwood to control the Zika mosquito population.
“The crowd was unhappy about the air spraying of a pesticide banned in the European Union. Some in downtown Miami have experienced eye irritation after and during the early morning spraying and there are fears that there could be other health issues,” the local ABC affiliate said of the protesters, who greeted Mayor Regalado with signs reading, “What are you really killing with Naled?” and “Stop poisoning us!”
ABC 10’s report on the Wynwood Art Walk was less upbeat than the Miami Herald’s, stating that “fear of mosquito bites kept many away.”
Governor Scott said he will authorize another $18 million for mosquito control.
“I still have outstanding requests that I put into the Obama Administration that I am waiting on and I am disappointed that Congress has not come back to work to deal with this national issue. The president and Congress must work together to get to a solution for all the families across our nation,” said Scott.
To its credit, ABC News notes that the $1.1 billion Zika bill approved by the House was filibustered by Democrats, “who argued that they were left out of negotiations on the bill, and that the measure would take funds away from other health programs and bar any availability of funds for birth control.”