Miami Beach residents worry about Zika virus spreading in city

Neighbors of abandoned building say green pool is breeding ground for mosquitoes

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Residents of Miami Beach said they are concerned about the spread of the Zika virus, which has been locally acquired by at least five people.

Neighbors at one condominium building told Local 10 News that they have been complaining to city officials for months about an abandoned building next door.

They said they are especially concerned about a pool of green, stagnant water sitting behind it -- a perfect breeding ground for Zika-infected mosquitoes.

"They boarded everything up (and) they put this mesh fence," Jaime Piña said.

Piña and his neighbors said they've watched the building right next to their condos on Miami Beach fall apart over the last year.

It's covered in graffiti and often filled with homeless people. But their biggest concern is the pool out back.

"The pool has been filling with the rains as of May," Piña said. "It's basically a breeding ground for mosquitoes, frogs (and) rats."

The building is owned by the city of Miami Beach, and several of the neighbors said they have complained to the city but haven't seen anything done.

With the recent Zika virus outbreak Cecilia Castanetto said she is too scared to let her child play outside.

"I never can go out with her -- never, because the mosquitoes are everywhere and they're huge and a lot," she said.

City officials told Local 10 News that they've owned the building since early 2015 and that it was vacant for several months before then as well.

As for the pool, a city spokesperson said it has been treated.

"The pool is actively being treated with larvicide," Melissa Berthier said.

Crews later pumped all of the water out of the pool, to the delight of those neighbors.

Berthier said the city is happy that the neighbors were so persistent, and that if anyone in the community has a similar issue that could provide a place for mosquitoes to breed, they are urged to contact Public Works.

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