DAILY BEAST — MIAMI — It was only a matter of time before Zika came to Miami. It could have come to any neighborhood—tree-laden Coconut Grove, tourist-heavy South Beach, historic Little Havana—but it came here to Wynwood, a warehouse district turned street art mecca that has become a mandatory stop on any good Miami itinerary.
According to Joseph Conlon, a technical adviser for the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), the Aedes aegypti mosquito carrying the virus could not have picked a better spot.
“There are a lot of coffee shops, and other shops and restaurants outside, and those could provide areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are not only breeding but are feeding upon people,” he told The Daily Beast. “Aedes aegypti mosquitoes like to feed on your lower extremities. They’ll feed on your legs.”
That’s bad news for the legions of sundress-wearing Instagrammers who flock to Wynwood to snap a selfie in front of the Maya Hayuk mural, and for businesses like The Wynwood Yard, an outdoor food truck gathering spot which decided to close indefinitely on Tuesday. As the South Florida Business Journal noted, nearly 30 percent of tourists who stay overnight in Miami-Dade County peel themselves off the beach long enough to take a trip through Wynwood.
But it’s not just the outdoor attractions that make this gentrifying neighborhood an ideal location for virus-laden mosquitoes. The many construction sites in and around the area provide plenty of standing water for the Zika-carrying insects to breed.
In addition to rampant development in Wynwood itself, cranes building new luxury condominium towers on Biscayne Boulevard line the eastern edge of the small area identified by the CDC as a new danger zone for pregnant women and their partners.
“Generally around construction sites, you have catchments of water in any number of things: pails, buckets, trash,” said Conlon. “Anything around a construction site that can hold water is fair game.”
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