CDC Advises Pregnant Women to Avoid One Square Mile of Miami

By Susan Jones | August 2, 2016 | 7:31am EDT
A Miami-Dade County mosquito control worker sprays around a home in the Wynwood area of Miami on Monday, Aug. 1, 2016. The CDC has issued a new advisory that says pregnant women should not travel a Zika-stricken part of Miami, and pregnant women who live there should take steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual spread of the virus. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

( - The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling pregnant women to avoid a one-square mile area in Miami, Florida where Zika-carrying mosquitos are known to be present.

The one-square-mile zone surrounds a specific 500-foot area where 12 cases of Zika infection have now been diagnosed, mostly in men.

"Mosquitoes only fly about 500 feet maximum in their entire life," CDC Director Tom Friedan told Fox News on Monday. "So, there's actually a small area within that one-mile block where we have seen all of the cases. But Florida and we with our emergency response team will be looking to see if there are additional cases.

"But it's very important for any pregnant woman anywhere in the Southern U.S., where there are this type of mosquito present, to use mosquito repellent and protect herself from mosquito bites."

Interestingly, the travel "guidance" posted on the CDC website does not say what specific area in Miami pregnant women should avoid. But the Miami Herald identified it as Wynwood, which it described as "an urban neighborhood tightly packed with aging homes bordering a busy commercial district."

Friedan explained that mosquitos spread Zika by biting someone who carries the virus, then biting and infecting someone else.

"It doesn't get into the mosquito population. It's not in nature, in the environment, as, for example, the West Nile virus is. So it's a very different entity than other mosquito-borne diseases."

Frieden said a vaccine is at least a year or two away, and in the meantime, the best way to slow Zika's spread is to kill the mosquitoes that carry it:

"But we have ways to control mosquitoes, and we also need to work on that, because mosquito control can protect us not just against Zika, but against other infections as well. And even with a vaccine, we are going to need better ways to track and control mosquitoes."

Frieden said if pregnant women have been to the neighborhood in question, they should see their doctor and get tested for Zika. Men infected with the virus can spread it to women.

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