THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, September 19, 2016.......... A federal travel advisory stemming from the Zika virus was downgraded Monday for one Miami-Dade County neighborhood, while eradication efforts have increased in a second, higher-profile area.
Meanwhile, the state is approaching 100 locally transmitted cases of the mosquito-borne virus, according to the governor's office, which continues to implore Congress to approve a Zika relief package.
Gov. Rick Scott traveled Monday to the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood to announce a one-square-mile Zika transmission zone has been lifted after 45 days with no continuing evidence of the virus spreading in that area.
"Now that the Wynwood zone has been lifted, we must all work together to help this incredible Florida community fully recover," Scott said in a prepared statement.
The state has been spraying Wynwood and a similar zone in Miami Beach daily with regular doses of the insecticide naled, which targets adult mosquitoes, and Bti, to kill mosquito larva.
Due to the efforts, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday altered an advisory that had told pregnant women not to travel to Wynwood. With the change, Wynwood was added to more general guidelines that warn pregnant women worried about potential exposure to Zika to consider postponing nonessential travel to Miami-Dade.
Pregnant women and partners of pregnant women living in Wynwood are also advised to strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
The Zika virus, which also can be spread sexually, is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause severe birth defects.
Wynwood was the first place where locally transmitted cases of Zika were first detected in the U.S. The 45-day period covered three mosquito incubation periods.
While Scott touted the success in Wynwood, eradication efforts have not solved Zika problems in a similar zone in Miami Beach.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday increased the size of that zone from 1.5 square miles to 4.5 miles after the announcement of of a fifth test sample of mosquitoes with the disease in Miami Beach.
As of Friday, the Florida Department of Health had reported 835 cases of Zika in Florida, including 660 "travel-related" cases that involve people getting infected elsewhere and bringing the disease into the state. The department reported Friday that 79 cases involved people who caught the virus in Florida. But the release from the governor's office Monday said there are more than 93 cases of locally acquired Zika in Florida.
The state separates cases involving pregnant women, either travel or no-travel related, into a single category, with 86 cases as of Friday. Also, 10 cases involved people who are not Florida residents.
Meanwhile, members of Florida's congressional delegation are continuing to urge their colleagues --- scheduled to adjourn Friday until November --- to approve federal Zika funding, as well as money to combat a growing heroin crisis.
"Congress has a duty to protect the public's health," U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., said in a prepared statement Monday. "Both Zika and drug abuse are spreading and pose a grave threat to Americans. These issues demand immediate federal action."
President Barack Obama in February called on Congress to approve $1.9 billion for Zika eradication efforts.
On Friday, Scott used emergency powers to increase the state's funding for the Zika fight by $10 million, to $36.2 million.