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Why isn’t the county spraying Little River’s Zika zone?

Despite a pretty intense regimen of spraying and prevention, Miami-Dade County announced its third Zika zone earlier this month. It’s a one square mile area between NW 79th Street and NW 63rd Street and NW 10th Avenue and North Miami Avenue. We’ve had six cases there so far.

But this announcement wasn’t followed by the same fear and aggressive response we saw in Wynwood and Miami Beach. Some say it’s straight up being ignored.  But it might have more to do with the very different situations facing the different zones.

Rep. Frederica Wilson accused Gov. Rick Scott of neglecting Little River, which is obviously not a tourism hub like Wynwood or Miami Beach, the first two Zika zones.

“We don’t have all the tourist attractions and all of the different businesses probably that are in Wynwood, but we do have people whose lives are going to be affected,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson the Miami Herald reported.

But there’s more to it than that, Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s spokesman Michael Hernandez said. The cases in Little River have been localized to one building, and the neighborhood doesn’t have as much traffic in-and-out because it’s not as frequented by tourists.

Still, there’s some suspicion that Little River/Liberty City is being ignored. Where does that come from? Well, look at the truck spraying schedules for Miami Beach versus Little River:

And these are the aerial spraying schedules in Wynwood and Miami Beach:

Here’s what has been done in Little River and Liberty since the announcement: A hundred DynaTrap mosquito traps were handed out to community members by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Keon Hardemon. More than 2,000 inspectors have already gone door-to-door requesting permission to enter properties and drain any standing water in place, according to Hernandez.

When Zika was first announced in Wynwood on July 29, Gov. Rick Scott arrived six days later and aerial spraying began that same day. After it was announced on Miami Beach on Aug. 19, Scott came down a week later on Aug. 26 and aerial spraying began on Sept. 9, according to the Miami-Dade County website.

The mayor’s office did not provide a full list indicating otherwise in time for deadline. On Oct. 27, The Florida surgeon general sent Mayor Carlos Gimenez a letter demanding a breakdown of how the county is spending money on mosquito control. It’s due by Nov. 4.

Miami-Dade County has already spent $7 million on all mosquito control efforts since January, according to Hernandez. The State of Florida has reimbursed $4.4 million, but estimates are that the county will have spent $12 million on mosquito control by the end of this year, according to Hernandez.

The Zika zone has been eradicated in Wynwood, but has tripled in size in Miami Beach, according to officials.

While Wynwood and Miami Beach were sprayed with the pesticide naled, county officials have no plans to do the same in Little River.

“Little River is different. It’s not a wide area, it’s a very small area, [they’ve] narrowed it to one building and one structure. In Wynwood, there were three to four potential areas of transmission, that’s when they say you have to be aggressive,” Hernandez said.

“The more potential sites of local transmission in a zone the more likely [the CDC and DOH are] going to recommend aerial spraying. With fewer sites we have truck spraying and door-to-door with inspectors rather than aerial.”

Hernandez also said that the spread of Zika is likely more aggressive in Miami Beach and Wynwood than Little River because there are more tourists and outside visitors.

“In Miami Beach and Wynwood … there are international visitors who come from countries with Zika outbreaks. We needed a very aggressive strategy,” Hernandez said. “Miami Beach is an area visited by millions across the world. … Imagine you’re coming and have tourists coming from South and Central America. Thousands of individuals are here at the height of mosquito season.”