As mosquito-borne viruses like Dengue Fever and Chikungunya continue to spread throughout the area, one South Florida community has decided that the spraying of insecticide to kill mosquitoes will no longer be allowed in the city limits.
South Miami adopted a new law Tuesday night that forbids Miami-Dade County mosquito control from spraying any broad-spectrum insecticides or biocides within the limits of South Miami.
The commission also voted to negotiate a plan that both sides that they can agree on moving forward.
So what led to the city taking the current stand?
According to the Miami Herald, South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard said the new ban was needed to keep insecticides from killing the food supply of some of the state’s rare mammals and insects. Stoddard told the Herald the spray used to kill salt marsh mosquitoes destroy the food supply for young bats.
Stoddard also told the Herald that the spray used by Miami-Dade County is “between 400 and 4,000 times more toxic to butterflies than it is mosquitos.”
Stoddard wants to use alternative methods to control the mosquito population including less toxic chemicals. The county told the Miami Herald that they have received numerous calls from South Miami for mosquito control and that they have a high count of mosquitoes in the area.
In the meantime, health officials are continuing to monitor the area after the first locally acquired cases of Chikungunya Virus were reported in a Miami-Dade County woman and Palm Beach County man last week.
Chikungunya is not fatal, but there is no treatment or medicine for the disease. The symptoms include fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or a rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus originated in Africa, but showed up in the Caribbean last year and has slowly made its way through the islands before arriving on the U.S. mainland. The name comes from an African language and means “that which bends up” which refers to the position many people who contract the disease end up due to the pain.
The CDC said the people at highest risk for the disease include newborns, adults over 65, and people with medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.