Hills. Co. preparing for potential Zika threat

Posted at 3:39 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 20:00:03-04
Hillsborough County Mosquito Control is preparing for a potential Zika virus threat projected to hit the gulf coast within a few weeks.
They are now setting more than 30 new traps across Hillsborough County,  designed to trap the Yellow Fever Mosquito, one of two kinds of mosquitos that are known to carry the virus.  
The Yellow Fever Mosquito prefers highly urbanized areas, said Ron Montgomery of Hillsborough County Mosquito Control.
"It likes to live around your house and it's active during the daytime," he said. "You get up in the morning, this mosquito gets up with you. When you go to bed at night, it goes to bed with you." 
He encourages all people to make sure that they are emptying out any kind of standing temporary water. This can include pet water dishes, wading and kiddie pools and ornamental ponds.
In Pinellas County, mosquito control said they are concentrating their efforts at the larval level before mosquitoes become a vector for disease.  To request Mosquito Control, residents can call (727) 464-7503.
Florida agriculture officials are also distributing mosquito traps to areas that lack surveillance for the species that carries the Zika virus.
Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman Jenn Meale says the state has purchased over 300 traps that target two mosquito species that carry the virus linked to birth defects.
Meale says mosquitoes caught in the traps will be tested for Zika, dengue and chikungunya in a state laboratory where monitoring for animal viruses now includes those diseases.
Quest Diagnostics is also now testing for Zika Virus, the first commercial lab to do so. They received a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization to do so.