'Zika zone' area shrinks as number of locally infected grows to 25

Health officials clear 4 more blocks in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood

MIAMI – As the number of locally acquired cases of the Zika virus in Florida continues to rise, state health officials have cleared an additional four blocks in the so-called "Zika zone" north of downtown Miami.

Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday that the Florida Department of Health has cleared another four blocks in the southwest corner of the designated zone in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.

Scott said three more people have tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus, bringing the total number of locally transmitted cases to 25.

"We believe active transmissions of Zika are still only occurring in an area in Miami that is less than 1 square mile," Scott said in a statement. "Last week, we were able to clear a 10-block portion of the area and today, it's great to announce that we are able to clear an additional four blocks. This means the area where we believe active transmissions are occurring in the state is significantly reducing."

The area of concentration is between Northwest Fifth Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard to Northwest 38th and Northwest 20th streets.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools said Wednesday that insect repellent will be distributed to parents of students at six schools that fall within the Zika zone when classes resume Aug. 22.

Zika fears have impacted businesses in the trendy arts district, including The Wynwood Yard, where two employees tested positive for the virus. The Wynwood Yard voluntarily closed Aug. 3, but management decided to reopen Wednesday after installing a state-of-the-art mitigation system and stocking up on more bug spray for customers.

"Although three additional individuals in Wynwood have been identified with the Zika virus today, we are confident that our mosquito education, prevention and control efforts are working and hopeful that the impacted area will continue to be reduced as the DOH investigation continues," Scott said.

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