Some Officials Link Zika to Climate Change
Local officials are working to treat the latest Zika zone around Little River, but across Biscayne Bay, more mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus in an area already treated.
Now, some elected leaders are saying that there is another factor beyond bugs, travel and sexual transmission is contributing to the spread of the virus.
"It appears as if District 24 has become a living laboratory for Zika," said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, whose district includes the new local transmission zone as well as Wynwood, which was recently cleared. "I'm sure that Zika will have a great impact on making the Congress of the United States understand what climate change, what kind of impact climate change has on communities."
A group of medical experts, professors and researchers who study the breed of mosquito which is the carrier of Zika and other viruses say that warmer temperatures have expanded the habitat where the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes can live beyond just the summer months as well as extending their life cycle and their breeding periods.
"We're dealing with a real life occurrence of a problem related to climate change," said State Senator Dwight Bullard. "Whether we like to acknowledge the existence of climate change or not, Zika is a real problem that is linked to the fact that the climate is changing."
A new pool of mosquitoes taken from Miami Beach has tested positive for Zika. Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control says officials learned about the new pool Monday. The insects had been collected from a trap October 5th at an apartment building on Drexel Avanue. The new pool is in the previously designated Zika transmission zone which spans between 8th and 63rd streets.
After several people infected with Zika were confirmed last week, a one square mile area of Miami was designated as a new active transmission zone, bordered by NW 79th Street to the North, NW 63rd Street to the South, NW 10th Avenue to the West and N. Miami Avenue to the East.
Last month, another designated Zika zone in Wynwood was cleared after 45 days without local transmission. As of Tuesday, Zika infections had been reported in 1,040 people in Florida. Most caught the virus while traveling outside the U.S., but 163 cases aren't travel related.
U.S. health officials are dividing the money approved by Congress to fight Zika. The one-point-one billion dollars will be split by the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and a fund that helps the nation respond to public health emergencies while $66 million will go U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, which has been especially hard hit.
Other money will go to state health departments. The White House requested one-point-nine billion dollars in emergency Zika funds in February. Congress finally approved the smaller amount last month.
(Photo credit: Mark Wilson)