A fifth batch of mosquitoes trapped in South Beach has tested positive for the Zika virus.
The Miami Herald reported the discovery Friday afternoon before the Florida Department of Agriculture confirmed in a press release that the fifth sample of Zika-positive mosquitoes came from from inside the 1.5-square-mile zone of active transmission in South Beach.
The county has been monitoring 19 traps that are spread out through South Beach. State officials have tested more than 52,000 mosquitoes since May in 3,200 sample groups. Of the positive samples, only one location has been made public — the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, which had to close for a week to be treated for mosquitoes.
Earlier Friday, the Herald filed suit again Miami-Dade County to force the release of records indicating the locations of the other traps.
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South Beach has been embroiled in controversy since the county began aerial spraying to control the mosquito population. Protesters have filled City Hall twice to oppose the spraying of naled, a neurotoxin considered effective at killing the Aedes aegypti mosquito that can carry Zika. Officials say the low concentration of the insecticide does not pose a threat to people.
The county will aerially spray naled on Miami Beach again at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, the fight against Zika is getting more expensive.
Friday morning, Florida Gov. Rick Scott authorized another $10 million in state funds on Friday to fight the mosquito-borne illness.
That brings the state’s total bill to $36.2 million, a news release said. Health officials first announced that mosquitoes were spreading the virus in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami on July 29. Since then, Wynwood and the Miami Beach area have been labeled zones of active transmission, triggering an unprecedented travel advisory warning pregnant women to avoid going to those neighborhoods.
The number of local cases continues to rise, with 87 confirmed as of Thursday — 77 Florida residents and 10 who live out of state but acquired the disease in Miami-Dade.
But as Florida worries about Zika’s impact on public health and tourism, Congress has yet approve a funding package to bolster the state’s efforts to contain the virus.
“Zika is non-partisan and I have been very clear that something had to get done this week,” Scott said in a news release, after he attended meetings in Washington this week urging lawmakers to act. “While it doesn’t look like that is going to happen, I will not wait on the federal government to protect Floridians and our visitors.”
Scott’s office said the additional state money will be spent on mosquito control, increased lab capacity for testing and the purchase of Zika prevention kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus continues to spread in South Florida. On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health confirmed seven more local cases in the region, with six in Miami-Dade and one in Palm Beach County.