Gov. Scott hosts roundtable discussion on Zika in Miami

Posted at 10:03 AM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 16:01:14-04

Gov. Rick Scott addressed Zika concerns at a roundtable discussion in Miami on Monday.

RELATED: More Zika coverage

Scott and Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam hosted the discussion with community leaders.

Monday afternoon the governor announced that the Florida Department of Health will allocate $5 million in additional state funding to Miami-Dade County for Zika preparedness and mosquito control. 

Official: Gulf Coast States Most Vulnerable To Zika

A National Institutes of Health official said Sunday that the Zika virus could "hang around" the United States for a year or two.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "This Week" that other Gulf Coast states, besides Florida, are most vulnerable to the spread of the disease.

"I would not be surprised if we see cases in Texas and Louisiana, particularly now where you have the situation with flooding in Louisiana," said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "There are going to be a lot of problems getting rid of standing water."

Mosquito-borne Zika cases have been found in two neighborhoods of Miami-Dade County- the Wynwood neighborhood and Miami Beach. They are the first areas on the U.S. mainland where health officials determined mosquitoes were transmitting Zika, which has spread through Latin American and the Caribbean.

The discovery last week of non-travel-related infections in Miami Beach prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand its travel warning for pregnant women to include the area known for nightclubs, pedestrian thoroughfares and beaches, as well as Wynwood, a neighborhood known for art galleries and boutiques.

Fauci said mosquito control is the best way to stop the spread of the Zika virus, which can cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, in pregnant women.

"With our experience with other similar viruses like dengue, this is something that could hang around for a year or two," Fauci said. "Hopefully, we get to a point to where we could suppress it so that we won't have any risk of it."

Meanwhile the mayor of Miami Beach said city workers are doing everything in their power to go after mosquitoes in the popular tourist destination.

Mayor Philip Levine and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz later held a news conference Monday morning and said more federal resources are needed to combat the spread of the Zika virus in South Florida.