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Town Hall Addresses Zika Concerns in Miami Beach

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Department of Health
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Miami Beach residents had a chance to voice their concerns about Zika at a town hall Monday night. State Rep. David Richardson hosted the discussion, which included Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip and other public officials.

Miami Beach resident Amani Ayers had this question:

“Am I to believe that a Zika mosquito, or any mosquito, for that matter, has an internal GPS and will automatically get to Eighth Street and stop and say, ‘Whoops! Gotta turn around.’”

No, state and county officials told her. The “Zika zone” maps show where local transmission of Zika likely occurred. But mosquitoes outside the areas can carry the virus, too.

Joseph Magazine’s wife is five months pregnant, and has shown Zika symptoms after getting a bite about a month ago. She hasn’t gotten her Zika test results back yet.

“If it’s taking six weeks for a pregnant woman to get her lab work what does that say about other people’s results?” Magazine said.

He’s afraid the number of Zika cases is underreported. Officials said they’re working on the backlog and gave Magazine their contact info to follow up on his wife’s case.

Dorothy Wells says the session didn’t address all of her concerns about pesticide use, but she’s grateful officials seemed to be forthright about Zika and mosquito control efforts.

“I really think people are trying to keep up with the research and just go as fast as they can,” Wells said

Officials and audience members alike say they hope that research will soon yield a Zika vaccine. But a vaccine is generally not expected to be approved until at least 2018.