by Allen J. Sheinman | August 02, 2016

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released travel, testing and other recommendations for people who have been in the Miami neighborhood where several Zika infections were recently confirmed. According to CNN, the area is a small community just north of downtown Miami.

The CDC recommendations come after new assessments of mosquito populations and tests were conducted this past weekend by Florida public health officials, who found persistent mosquito populations and additional Zika infections in the same area. The CDC's subsequent recommendations are for people who traveled to or lived in the areas on or after June 15, 2016, the earliest known date that someone could have been infected with Zika. At Florida's request, the CDC is also sending a CDC emergency response team with experts in the virus, pregnancy and birth defects, vector control, laboratory science, and risk communications to assist in the response. Five CDC team members are already on the ground in Florida and three more will arrive today, Aug. 2.

The CDC recommends:

• Pregnant women should not travel to the identified area. 

• Pregnant women and their partners living in this area should consistently follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.

• Pregnant women who traveled to this area on or after June 15, 2016, should talk with their health-care provider and should be tested for Zika.

• Pregnant women without symptoms of Zika who live in or frequently travel to this area should be tested for Zika virus infection in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.

• Male and female sexual partners of pregnant women who live in or who have traveled to this area should consistently and correctly use condoms or other barriers against infection during sex or abstain from sex for the duration of the pregnancy.

• All pregnant women in the United States who live in or travel to an area with active Zika virus transmissions, or who have sex with a partner who lives in or traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmissions without using condoms or other barrier methods to prevent infection, should be assessed for possible Zika virus exposure during each prenatal care visit and tested according to CDC guidance.  

• Women and men who traveled to this area should wait at least eight weeks before trying for a pregnancy; men with symptoms of Zika should wait at least six months before trying for a pregnancy.

• Women and men who live in or frequently travel to this area who do not have signs or symptoms consistent with the Zika virus disease and are considering pregnancy should consider the risks associated with Zika virus infection, and may wish to consult their health-care provider to help inform their decisions about timing of pregnancy.

• Anyone with possible exposure to Zika virus and symptoms of Zika should be tested for Zika.

"We work closely with Florida to gather and analyze new information every day," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. "With the new information that there are active mosquitoes still in the area and additional Zika infections, we conclude that pregnant women should avoid this area - and make every effort to prevent mosquito bites if they live or work there. We apply the same criteria within and outside of the United States, and are working closely with Florida and Miami health departments to provide preventive services, including mosquito control."

The CDC continues to encourage everyone living in areas with Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, especially pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant, to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Apply insect repellent containing DEET to uncovered skin, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, use or repair screens on windows and doors, use air conditioning when available, and remove standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs.

Based on the confirmation of local Zika transmission in Florida, the CDC has updated its Interim Zika Response Plan for the continental United States and Hawaii, and has released the Zika Community Action Response Toolkit to help states with risk communication and community engagement when local transmission is identified. 

Click here for more CDC information about Zika.