2 cases of Zika possibly linked to Miami Beach; Mayor says no confirmation yet

Posted at 12:48 AM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 05:15:57-04

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine says there is no confirmation that there is an active Zika transmission zone in Miami Beach. The Health Department has made him aware of two Zika cases possibly linked to Miami Beach.

The mayor stresses that the city has been aggressive in its mosquito control efforts. Protecting the city's tourism is a top priority. 

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On Miami Beach, working out in the sun, biking along the beach is the draw for tourists. 

"It's very nice, it's very warm here," said Selina Sterker, a tourist from Germany. 

But the threat of Zika still looms over South Florida's tourism industry. Levine is reassuring locals and tourists that there is no outbreak and that the city is being proactive. 

"The city has been away ahead of the game. We have been working with all of our businesses, all our local residents. We are making sure there is no standing water anywhere in the city that would be an area for breeding or anything like that," said Levine. 

Still some tourists, like Sterker,  are avoiding any popular Miami spots if there's any known risk of getting the Zika virus. 

"We asked the [hotel] receptionist about the Wynwood Walls because I heard from friends that it's very pretty and she said 'oh I wouldn't go there because's there the Zika virus," said Sterker. 

The Health Department says there are now 35 non-travel related cases of Zika in Miami Dade. Active mosquito transmissions of the virus have only been confirmed in Wynwood, north of Downtown Miami, but health experts are investigating other possible transmission areas in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County. 

"I think it would be very naive of all of us to think that this won't pop up in other areas of the county, or in Broward or in Palm Beach County," added Levine.

The mayor says he may have more information on the possible Zika link to Miami Beach on Friday, but there is no actual timeline of when more information may be available.