“The mosquito population in South Florida is larger than it is in many other communities in the country,” Josh Earnest said earlier last month in a White House press briefing. The Zika virus has spread to Miami Beach. Newly confirmed cases in the areas of Zika have recently been announced by Governor Rick Scott. With the spread of Zika the real estate industry in and tourism could have a negative effect for Miami Beach.
In the state of Florida, over a dozen cases of Zika have now been transmitted by mosquitoes locally born to the Miami area. Currently, there are 36 confirmed cases of Zika. The Zika virus has been a concern especially to pregnant women, which can cause cause birth defects such as microcephaly. Health officials had announced this year that they had cleared 17 blocks in the Wynwood area as “Zika-free.” Governor Rick Scott stated that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity had contacted 55 Wynwood businesses in which losses would be recovered for the loss of tourists and customers visiting the area.
CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden had concerns that the Miami mosquitoes could also be resistant. Chalmers Vasquez, Miami-Dade County’s mosquito control manager stated that the testing has so far shown the use of pyrethrin in ground foggers to be effective. The county will continue testing and also plans on rotating insecticides and larvicides to keep mosquitoes from building up a tolerance, Frieden said. Josh Earnest also stated that the region’s experience in fighting the mosquito insects will help efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus. Florida had 338 travel-related cases of Zika at its most recent count, however as many as 15 locally transmitted instances were directly reported with 13 in Miami and two in Broward County.
Will the latest discovery of mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus cause businesses to temporarily close? Will the Zika virus deter both tourists and locals from visiting the Miami areas and beynd? The Property Tax Appeal Group, which provides expert and professional real estate ad valorem appeals on tax assessments in South Florida released a new report which warns that if Zika virus fears continue over the long term, it could cause businesses to close, which could then depress real estate values nearby. The report also urges the Miami-Dade County Property Tax Appraiser to take this in consideration when conducting its property assessments in affected and surrounding areas.