2016-10-14 01:29:07
A New Zika Zone in Miami, but No Reason to Panic, Scientists Say

Florida announced a new Zika transmission zone on Thursday, saying that the virus had popped up in a mile-square patch of northern Miami and that five people had been infected.

The area, around the Little Haiti neighborhood, goes from NW 79th Street in the north to NW 63rd Street in the south. Its eastern border is North Miami Avenue, and its western border is NW 10th Avenue. The state’s Health Department said it had been investigating the cases over a number of days and completed the final one on Thursday.

The five people who contracted Zika locally were two women and three men. Three of the people live in the area, and the two others work there or have visited. The department said it was going door to door in the area, telling people the virus was circulating there.

Zika causes mild illness in most people, but it can be dangerous for pregnant women because it has been linked to birth defects and brain damage in babies born to infected mothers.

In all, Florida has had three zones, including the new one, where the virus actively circulated. But in the first area, Wynwood, the virus has died out. The other area is a stretch of Miami Beach. Florida has 155 locally contracted cases of Zika and 736 cases in which people were infected outside the United States. There are 106 pregnant woman in the state who have tested positive for Zika.

The development was not entirely unexpected, and scientists said it was not a signal that the state’s response was faltering or that Zika was getting out of control. On the contrary, mosquito season is winding down. Mosquitoes die off when the weather gets cooler, and the virus is not transmitted nearly as quickly by those that live.

“The breeding season will end in a few weeks, and there will be fewer and fewer mosquitoes,” said Nikos Vasilakis, an associate professor of pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. “In the grand scheme of things, this transmission will continue next year, but it’s pretty limited. Look at a map of Miami. It’s just a few spots, it’s not spread all over.”

What is more, Hurricane Matthew, which blew through late last week, eliminated many of the bugs. Gayle Love, a spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County, said traps in the northern area of the Miami Beach transmission zone went from catching an average of 17 mosquitoes on Oct. 3 to catching just three on Oct. 10. The catch in the southern area went from four to one.

“The high winds knocked them out,” Ms. Love said. She added that workers resumed spraying early Saturday morning, right after the storm. “It was a great chance to break the breeding cycle.”