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September 28, 2016: Mayors Say State Told Them to Keep Zika Mosquito Sites Secret

“The mayors of Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach on Sunday accused the Florida Department of Health of lying after the state agency said last week that it never told local officials to hide the locations in Miami Beach where mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus were captured.

“Florida’s health department strongly denied instructing local officials to keep the information confidential — and said the decision was entirely up to Miami-Dade — after the Miami Herald reported on Friday that a county attorney said the state agency had ordered them to keep it a secret.

“The statement was made during a court hearing for the Miami Herald’s lawsuit against Miami-Dade seeking the locations of traps in Miami Beach where mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus were captured this month. The suit seeks disclosure of the locations on grounds that the information would help the public make decisions about precautions to take if they live or work nearby, and also inform the community debate on the use of the controversial insecticide naled.

“On Sunday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is facing a runoff election in November, pushed back against the Florida health department’s denial with a written statement repeating that the agency had ordered secrecy in regards to the locations.

“’During multiple meetings, phone calls and conversations, officials from the Florida Department of Health explicitly stated to county officials that information identifying the addresses of traps containing mosquitoes positive for the Zika virus is confidential during active, ongoing epidemiological investigations,’ Gimenez said in the statement.

“’It is disturbing that the Florida Department of Health is denying previous directives to maintain confidentiality of the trap locations,’ Gimenez said in the statement. ‘At the end of the day, this is about the health and safety of our community, and we have been carrying out the express orders of the Florida Department of Health as it relates to disclosure of mosquito-trap information.’

Source: Miami Herald

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