Federal health officials on Monday lifted their Zika travel advisory that had urged pregnant women to avoid an area north of downtown Miami called Wynwood. They made the call because no new cases of locally transmitted virus have been reported there since early August.
The announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes after Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced earlier in the day that no evidence of Zika's spread has been documented in the Wynwood area for 45 days. The CDC's travel advisory remains in effect for the state's other active zone of transmission, Miami Beach. The area covered by that travel warning was tripled in size late Friday to cover nearly two-thirds of that tourist hot spot.
The CDC has said there needs to be evidence that no new cases have developed for at least 45 days, or about three mosquito incubation periods, before its guidance can change. The domestic travel advisory for Wynwood was issued Aug. 1 and was the first warning against travel within the United States.
Although Scott urged residents to support the art galleries and patronize restaurants in the trendy Wynwood neighborhood during a celebration day at the end of month, federal health officials were much more cautious. They said pregnant women and their partners who are worried about potential exposure to the virus may also consider postponing nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County. Mosquito season in South Florida continues through the fall, and additional cases could be identified, the CDC said.
Women and men who lived in or traveled to the area "should be aware this location was considered an area of active Zika transmission from June 15 to Sept. 18," the CDC said. Pregnant women should talk to their healthcare providers about getting tested.
Women and men who don't have signs or symptoms of Zika and who traveled the the Wynwood area during that time should wait at least 8 weeks before trying to get pregnant, the CDC said. Men with symptoms or who have been diagnosed with Zika and who traveled to the area during this period should wait at least six months before trying to get their partner pregnant.
Although most people infected with Zika have no symptoms or only develop mild illnesses, the virus causes an array of severe birth defects, including a condition known as microcephaly.
Scott announced late Friday that the Miami Beach zone was expanded to cover 4.5 square miles because state health department officials have identified five people who have experienced symptoms within one month of each other, three of them in the newly expanded area.
Florida now has at least 93 cases of locally transmitted Zika. State officials credited aggressive mosquito-control measures for stopping the spread in Wynwood, and they said they would redouble efforts in the Miami Beach area.