Governor back in South Florida as additional Zika virus transmission reported in Miami Beach

Miami Beach Botanical Garden temporarily closes due to Zika concerns

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Associated Press, Hatzel Vela - Cuba Correspondent

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott traveled to Boca Raton Monday to hold another roundtable discussion after more locally-transmitted cases of the Zika virus were reported in South Florida.

Scott said one new non-traveled-related case was reported in Miami Beach and two non-travel-related cases were reported in Palm Beach and Pinellas counties.

The meeting with community officials, business leaders and tourism representatives was held at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.

Scott has been touring the state, hosting Zika virus events for several weeks.

A total of 43 people have contracted the illness locally in Florida, with the majority having occurred in Miami-Dade County.

Miami Beach officials said in a statement Monday that the Miami Beach Botanical Garden would temporarily close in an effort to prevent visitors from getting bitten by mosquitoes.

"While we work to preserve the luscious flora and fauna we also need to work to protect the visitors that enjoy the Garden," the statement read in part. "Therefore, in abundance of caution, and in order to give the city and the county an opportunity to properly inspect and treat for mosquitoes, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden will be closed for the next 2-3 days."

Scott said the state is doing fairly well, despite the new cases, and said Wynwood is proof that the state is handling the ZIka virus the right way.

"The state is going to continue to fund anything we need to fund. We've allocated $26.2 million," he said.

Wynwood had a one-square mile area affected just six weeks ago. The Zika zone has now been reduced to half that size, with no new cases being reported.

"Through very aggressive mosquito control, through education efforts, we'll hopefully stop any of that," Scott said.

The governor will travel to Washington D.C. next week to ask Congress for more funding. The House and Senate went into recess despite the looming problems Zika posed.

"Probably one of the most important things is they actually need to focus on a vaccine," Scott said.

A Pennsylvania drug company said it has launched a clinical trial of a Zika vaccine in Puerto Rico, the part of the U.S. hardest hit by the mosquito-borne virus.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it will be testing its DNA-based vaccine candidate on 160 adult volunteers in Puerto Rico.

CEO J. Joseph Kim said Monday that if the results are promising, the company would meet with regulators next year to discuss developing the vaccine.

Inovio conducted the first vaccine trial in June with volunteers in the U.S. and Canada. It expects results later this year. The National Institutes of Health is also studying a DNA-based vaccine rather than the traditional method using a dead or weakened virus. Other vaccine candidates are also in development.

Puerto Rico has reported more than 13,000 Zika cases.

Copyright 2016 by WKMG ClickOrlando. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.