Spraying for Zika continues in Broward and Miami-Dade

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Washington, DC, September 12, 2016 | comments


Spraying for Zika continues in Broward and Miami-Dade

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Planes and trucks were back out early, Monday morning, for another round of spraying insecticide in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

A chemically-loaded truck could be seen in the streets of Miami Beach, around 2 a.m. In Broward, a plane packed with insecticide could be seen spraying five small areas across the county that include Margate, Tamarac, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach.

Unlike the weekend spraying, officials said they will not be using the controversial chemical Naled. Instead, they will use a chemical called BTI, said to work by killing mosquito larvae, not live mosquitoes.

Even though there’s been no cases originating in Broward County, officials are not taking any chances after a fourth known set of mosquitoes tested positive for the Zika virus last week.

At a local Marathon gas station, Denis Aguilar said he finds nothing wrong with the spraying. “It’s necessary,” Aguilar said. “I think it’s necessary because that disease. I don’t want it in my house.”

“Hopefully, it’ll pass,” said Helen Nolan, who is in South Florida to visit her daughter. “I understand that the spray outweighs the chance of anything else. Might as well get a hold of it while we can.”

Alex Sofianos, a mechanic at the Marathon gas station said the spraying is concerning. “I’m really not thrilled about anything sprayed in the air,” he said. “Between stuff that we read today with pesticides and stuff, so it’s like we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.”

Back in Miami Beach the concerns over the spraying are causing some parents to keep their kids indoors.

Miami-Dade Public Schools said there was a slight dip in attendance Friday due to parents who did not want their kids where the chemicals were being sprayed. “I don’t think it’s safe, honestly,” said Stewart Turner, PTA president at Fienberg-Fisher K-8 School.

“There are completely different methods of combating Zika,” said Broward Mosquito Control Director Ahn Ton.

Still, there are other parents who agree that something needs to be done. “Why be paranoid? It’s done anyway, so the kids need to go to school,” one parent said in regards to parents who decide to keep kids out of class on days of spraying.

“Unfortunately, South Florida, with rain and water sitting, it’s here,” Sofianos said. “There’s nothing we can do to ever eliminate mosquitoes. They’re here.”

Meanwhile, the head of the CDC had a sobering message about the fight against Zika. “We are now essentially out of money,” announced Director Thomas Frieden. He said without more money to fight the spread of the virus, America is “about to see a bunch of kids born with microcephaly.”

Microcephaly is a condition Zika can cause, where babies are born with abnormally small heads.

Dr. Aaron Elkin, an obstetrician who said the virus may have effects that go beyond microcephaly, said, “How can we not stop this?”

Elkin said that the effects can even go as far as causing permanent brain damage in adults. He stood alongside Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to drive home the need for action. “We have had to deal with this over and over and over again because Republicans in Washington still refuse to stop playing politics with people’s lives,” Wasserman Schultz said.

Angel Small said her life has been changed dramatically as a pregnant woman, knowing that there is a possibility of contracting Zika. “Everyday, before I go out the house, I have to spray on bug spray when before we were told not to use it, but now you have to put on bug spray and make sure it contains DEET,” Small said.

The President met with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office to discuss the fight against Zika. “We’re able to adequately fund our efforts to not only deal with the Zika outbreaks but also come up with diagnostic tools, vaccines that will solve the problems for good.”

Florida’s senior senator, Bill Nelson, said while specifics were still being worked out, it seems there will soon be a deal to fund the Zika fight.

There will be another round of spraying on the ground in Miami Beach Tuesday morning.

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