Florida begins aerial spraying to combat Zika spread

State and city officials say they're doing everything they can

(CNN) – The city of Miami, Florida, is doing whatever it can to prevent the Zika virus from spreading. But some residents and tourists are concerned about the threat of Zika.

Like flame retardant on a raging wildfire, Florida authorities hope planes dumping this insecticide will help wipe out Zika-infected mosquitoes. The aerial missions over Miami will continue for the next several weeks.

Authorities say the chemicals designed to kill the mosquitoes are safe for humans, but advised people with allergies to stay indoors during the early morning.

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “The type of droplet used is a very, very small droplet that wafts in the air and stays in the air for longer period of time, so has a better kill of the adult mosquitoes.”

The CDC says the early results seem promising, and authorities say they’ve been able to reduce the Zika danger zone by 10 blocks.

Wynwood is the neighborhood considered to be ground zero for the Zika virus in Miami, an art district filled with shops, galleries and restaurants.

Despite 15 cases of Zika, tourists are still coming – but armed with cans of bug spray.

This drug store is sold out. Outdoor patios are empty as people try to protect themselves.

Carey Fulliove, who is 31 weeks pregnant, said, “I’ve been wearing long sleeves, I’ve been wearing leggings to my ankles and I’ve been putting on bug spray on my feet and on my arms, just extra safe.”

Fullilove is at her doctor’s office for a routine pregnancy exam. Now in her 3rd trimester, the virus has become a constant worry for both her and her husband. Her doctor says the office has been inundated with calls and emails from nervous patients.

Dr. Lauren Abern from the University of Miami Health System said, “And it’s not even those that are pregnant. I’ve had actually patients email me that are not pregnant because they either want to try to get pregnant, or will it affect them down the road when they want to try and get pregnant.”

Melanie Fernandez, who is 20 weeks pregnant, says she would leave Miami right now if she could. “All I can do up to now is just to be on the defensive everywhere I go. I can’t move because I have a business here, and we have a life here.”

That’s why state and city officials say they’re doing everything they can, but that it’s a collective effort.

The CDC’s Dr. Frieden said, “This mosquito can breed in a bottle cap. So you have to get rid of any container that can hold standing water. A coffee cup. A paint can. A bucket for collecting rain water.”

Meanwhile, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases has launched human trials for a Zika vaccine.

Two volunteers have recently been injected with an experimental DNA-based vaccine.

Copyright 2016 CNN

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