3 mosquito samples from Miami Beach test positive for Zika virus

Samples are first finding of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in continental US

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Three mosquito samples found in Miami Beach have tested positive for the Zika virus, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Thursday.

The mosquitoes were extracted from a small sample area of Miami Beach. It is the first finding of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in the continental United States.

"This find is disappointing, but not surprising," Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said. "Florida is among the best in the nation when it comes to mosquito surveillance and control, and this detection enables us to continue to effectively target our resources. Miami-Dade County, the city of Miami Beach and state and federal partners will continue to work aggressively to prevent the spread of Zika."

State officials said 95 additional samples submitted by Miami-Dade County have tested negative for the mosquito-borne virus.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Mosquito Control "continues its proactive and aggressive response to reducing the mosquito population throughout the county."

"This is not an epidemic," Gimenez said at a news conference Thursday.

Locally acquired cases of the Zika virus have been confirmed in a 1.5-square-mile area of Miami Beach. The mosquitoes were collected from the sample area.

"Miami Beach will continue to take a hard line in our fight against Zika," Mayor Philip Levine said. "We are aggressively working to eliminate any and all potential mosquito breeding grounds."

An email that went out to Miami Beach residents reads in part: "As part of our initiative, all bromeliads in city landscaping are being removed and we strongly encourage all residents and businesses to follow suit. Please bag bromeliads before tossing them out."

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