Zika Owns 1 Square Mile of America

By now, everyone knows there are 14 cases of local mosquito-borne transmission of Zika in Florida, some symptomatic and some asymptomatic. What is interesting about this small, and completely expected, outbreak is that it is, thus far, seemingly confined to one specific neighborhood of the city of Miami (in Miami-Dade) called Wynwood. This conglomeration of cases has caused the CDC to issue a travel advisory for pregnant women traveling to just that neighborhood of Miami which spans about 1 square mile. 

That this first documented outbreak of Zika within the 50 states is hyper-localized comes as no surprise as the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes responsible for the spread of the virus are not big commuters, preferring to stay around 150 meters from where they hatched. Also, neighborhoods have differing capacities for supporting mosquitoes in terms of ready access to blood meals and ample standing water for breeding. 

This hyper-locality made me recall a conversation I had months ago with a top Mexican public health official who lamented his entire country getting slathered with Zika-colors and a travel advisory when it was truly a specific region that was conducive to Zika spread.

The CDC, by sticking to real-time date and the evidence, was able to issue -- for the time being -- a very specific travel advisory so as to delimit panic and derail an economy heavily reliant on tourism. This type of highly actionable and precise advisory should be the norm (when possible).