Tampa Code Enforcement officers busy taking proactive steps to fight Zika as part of storm preps

Posted at 5:46 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 17:46:33-04

Mayor Bob Buckhorn bought an additional 5,000 mosquito dunks. A great defense against Zika. The bacteria in the tabs kill the mosquito larvae.

He asked viewers to call code enforcement if they wanted some help with standing water.

People have been calling all day including a neighbor of Tim Guest.

"I've lived here all my life and this is one of the fastest things I've ever seen them do," said Guest.

Guest never expected code enforcement at his door.

A team arrived ready to treat the retention pond in the back of his apartment complex.

"I saw it on TV and thought it was a great idea. I can't even believe you guys came here today. It's showing that you are making an effort to take care of the situation which is a scary one if you ask me," said Guest.

Guest, like many people are not only worried about the storm but Zika too.

More water could mean more mosquito's. It's why Mayor Bob Buckhorn just yesterday pledged city money to buy more dunks.

"They are safe for animals for humans and even for the little froggy's," said Barbara Riley, a supervisor with code enforcement.

Riley and her partner Vince Rado have responded to dozens of calls.

"Anything that we can do preventive for us before the storm definitely helps us for after the storm," said Riley.

She's worked for code enforcement for 14 years. She said typically they are busier after severe weather not this time.

"The public is more aware of issues," Riley said.

Specifically 43 cases of non travel Zika cases in Florida including news a Tampa fire firefighter is one of the patients.

Riley said people don't wan't to take chances. So they are out in full force today. They are not only responding to calls but treating area hot spots.

"We are anticipating a lot of rain. There is going to be flooding so we want to get these in here today so they at least have a chance to work," said Riley.

Another first. They passed out flyers warning about the dangers of Zika.

Mayor Buckhorn also stressed the importance of taking proactive steps.

"It is critical after the storm if you go into your backyard and seeing areas of standing water to get rid of it," said Buckhorn.

Buckhorn added he will buy more dunks if need be. This latest batch cost about $2,000.00 a small price Buckhorn said to keep people safe.

The money for the dunks came out of the city budget and the 26.2 million dollars of state revenue the governor allotted for Zika.