Zika Virus and Safeguards Implemented at Miami Jewish Health

At Miami Jewish Health, the well-being and safety of our patients, residents, families, visitors, employees and neighbors are paramount.

The Zika virus is spreading in Miami-Dade County with more than a dozen locally transmitted cases in recent days. Florida Health Officials have identified the Wynwood neighborhood, just a few miles from our campus, as an active area of ongoing Zika transmission.

Zika is a virus primarily spread by the Aedes genus of mosquito, which usually bites during the day. To date, most of the risk factors have focused on pregnant women because of the strong link between Zika and birth defects. However, the majority of people who are bitten and infected do not show symptoms. But those who do generally have a rash, fever, joint pain or red eyes lasting a few days or a week.

Miami-Dade County health officials have already begun to step up mosquito control and public education measures. They are spraying affected neighborhoods and going door-to-door to look for the standing water where mosquitoes live and breed. Please note that Naled, the insecticide the county is using to kill adult mosquitoes and larvae, is not harmful to humans and pets.

Miami Jewish Health has spent months preparing for the possible spread of the virus to our area. We are confident that proper environmental procedures have been implemented. In an abundance of caution, here are some of the specific steps we have taken to ensure the safety of all our populations and surrounding neighborhoods:

1) We have become even more vigilant about the proper drainage and elimination of standing water. All water fountains and the pool at the residential tower have been properly chlorinated and balanced to eliminate the risk of mosquitoes reproducing. All mosquito control efforts on campus have been reviewed for effectiveness and increased to the highest degree possible.

2) We are making thorough and ongoing surveillance rounds to check that windows, screens and doors present solid barriers to prevent insect entry.

3) We are designating preferred parking close to building entrances for pregnant employees and visitors. Employees should contact Human Resources.

4) We are providing individualized attention and education to patients, residents and family members who may be unduly concerned about the situation. The informational resources of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as the state and county, in multiple languages, are being made available. We are urging all visitors to use sound judgment when visiting our campus, and encouraging patients, residents, employees, and members of neighboring communities to safeguard against any risks or hazards.

In August, summer rain and heat raise the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses, so it is important to take precautions on your own. Here is what you can do:

1) Keep your windows closed and use air conditioning.   If you prefer fresh air and have screens on your windows, make sure the mesh has no holes or tears. We continue to check but can use your assistance. Please report any broken screens we may have missed.

2) Wear long clothing to cover arms and legs when walking on the grounds.

3) Families and visitors are urged to use mosquito repellant–preferably one that contains at least 30% DEET–on exposed skin.

4) Report any flowerpots, buckets, planters or other receptacles that could hold rainwater that we may have missed during regular monitoring of the property.

Further up-to-date information about the Zika virus and mosquito control in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere can be found at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

www.cdc.gov/zika

Miami-Dade County:

www.miamidade.gov/mosquito-control

Miami Jewish Health has served our community for over 75 years. We take our responsibility seriously and will always strive to maintain your trust.

We hope that this information is useful and that you and your families stay safe.

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