Tracking mosquitoes and fighting Zika virus

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Tracking mosquitoes and fighting Zika virus

It may be a matter of time until mosquitoes in our area begin carrying the Zika virus, at least, that's the word from crews tasked with testing the pesky insects.

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On Friday, Eyewitness News tagged along to see just what goes into gathering and analyzing the bugs. There is no cure or vaccine for the Zika virus, and health experts say your best defense - avoid contact with the pesky insects that spread it.

Officials have long said getting rid of standing water is key. But did you know that even a small bottle cap full of water is enough to allow mosquitoes to lay hundreds of eggs?

"Collectively, we can work together in removing the habitat," said Dr. Mustapha Debboun, Dir. Harris Co. Mosquito Control Division.

Dr. Debboun said the recent flooding and storms are a big concern.
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"They breed in our front yard, our backyard and home communities," said Dr. Debboun. "The humidity is coming up, summer is coming (and) people are traveling."

Texas has so far seen more than 30 Zika cases and federal health officials are advising local health departments to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak.

"As you can see there's a lot of mosquitoes in there already," said Martin Nava, holding up one of the traps used.

Nava sets traps around the county every week.

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"So they're flying towards the light and attracted by the CO2 (carbon dioxide) and get caught up in here," said Nava.

Some traps are placed in our sewer system and others are placed throughout homes in Harris County.

Nava sets them out at 1pm.

"It stays there until we come in the morning to pick it up," said Nava.

Unfortunately, no mosquitoes were trapped in one of the traps we saw Friday. Nava said rain probably washed them out.

"We collected everything we had for the week, so we will start over next week," said Nava.

On Friday Reps. Al Green and Gene Green urged congress to increase federal funding to address the Zika epidemic, especially in our area.

Related Topics:
healthzika virushealthmosquitocenters for disease controlHoustonHarris County
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