Federal health authorities on Monday urged pregnant women not to visit a South Florida neighborhood where new cases of the Zika virus have emerged, the first time officials have warned against travel to part of the continental United States due to the outbreak of an infectious disease.
Officials issued the “unprecedented” warning following the identification of 10 new infections in a dense urban pocket north of downtown Miami, and after “aggressive” efforts to combat Zika’s mosquito-borne spread had proved insufficient.
“It is truly a scary situation,” said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This is a really tough mosquito to control.”
The travel warnings and growing outbreak mark a troubling but not unexpected turn for efforts to stem the virus’s spread through the United States, and they could have profound impacts on Florida’s tourism-heavy economy. It also demonstrates how even the best prepared communities may struggle to deal with a virus that spreads so readily.