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Zika prompts calls to pest control companies

Posted at 1:19 PM, May 23, 2016
Floridians were already concerned by the spreading mosquito-borne Zika virus when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that it would be changing the way they count cases.
 
The change revealed that there were actually triple the number of infected pregnant women in the United States than previously reported by the federal government.
 
Previously, officials had reported how many pregnant women had both Zika symptoms and positive blood tests. In a change announced Friday, the CDC count will include all women who tested positive, regardless of symptoms.
 
There are now 157 pregnant women infected with Zika in the 50 states, up from the 48 reported last week under the old definition.
 
In Florida, the Department of Health had previously only reported that nine pregnant women met the CDC's standard case definition. Florida's new case count of pregnant women infected with Zika is now 36 as of Friday.
 
Only an estimated 1 in 5 people infected with Zika develop symptoms — fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes — which usually last no more than a week, says the CDC.
 
Private companies that provide mosquito control have always had plenty of business in Florida. The aedes aegypti species has been known to carry other diseases, like yellow fever virus, dengue virus, and the chikungunya virus. The Zika virus - which is believed to cause birth defects in children, as well as other potential issues - is causing more concern than other mosquito-borne diseases. Several companies say that concern appears to be causing an uptick in business.
 
Florida counties already do mosquito control and testing and in Hillsborough County residents can request that mosquito control come spray on their property. You can request that service, which is free, here. Requesting the service is not a guarantee that the county will choose to spray or set traps in your yard.
 
More people are buying insect repellent as well, according to RetailMeNot, whose recent survey showed that 58 percent of Americans plan to buy some kind of repellent, like a spray or candle, amid Zika fears.
 
Click here to see the CDC's recommendations about avoiding mosquito bites.