MIAMI – Officers with the Miami police department are distributing bug spray to their community’s most vulnerable: the homeless. They hope the bug spray will help quell the spread of the Zika Virus.
“Homeless are the most needy and they’re out 24/7 exposed to mosquitoes,” officer James Bernat told WPLG. “We need to do what we can do to help them and it’s the right thing to do.”
The CDC issued an unprecedented travel warning Tuesday to pregnant women and their partners, asking them to avoid the Wynwood district of Miami. Officials say 14 people were infected with the Zika virus after being bitten by mosquitoes in the area.
The Miami Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter, is within that area.
One homeless man, Lorenzo Ward, said he had been using a painful alternative to bug spray to keep the mosquitoes at bay.
“I use bleach and alcohol,” said Ward. “It burns the skin, but it keeps the mosquitoes off.”
Bernat told ABC News that they distributed about 50 cans of mosquito repellent to homeless people on the street.
The Zika virus is known to causes serious birth defects, including microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.=auto” width=”640″ height=”395″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen=”” mozallowfullscreen=”” allowfullscreen=””]