Zika Zone in Miami Beach Expanded After 5 New Cases

Florida authorities have tripled the active Zika transmission zone in Miami Beach after five new cases of the virus were identified in the area. Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a statement released Friday that the active transmission zone now spans 4.5 square miles rather than the initial 1.5 square miles. Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said authorities in Miami Beach would begin spraying larvicide throughout the area on Saturday to combat what he described as the “serious problem.” “Once again, we must take all reasonable and safe action to eliminate this. This is a problem,” Levine told the Miami Herald. Thirty-five cases of non-travel related Zika infections have now been recorded in Miami Beach, and 93 in the entire state of Florida. The decision to expand the active transmission zone comes after the Florida Department of Health said it identified five new cases in the area. The Zika virus can cause severe birth defects and pregnant women have been advised to avoid Miami Beach altogether.