Champaign County to kill mosquitoes found near Zika case

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Champaign County health leaders will take steps to kill mosquitoes near where a local man infected with Zika lives and local pest control companies have seen an increase in demand from residents concerned about the virus.

One case of a person with Zika virus has been confirmed in Champaign County, Health Commissioner Jeff Webb said. The man contracted the disease while traveling in Central America.

“The chances of transmission is very low, but we want to err on the side of caution,” Webb said.

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The Champaign County Health District will do an environmental scan of the land and neighborhood around the home of the infected person, Webb said. That means searching for any potential breeding grounds in the area and treating them if needed, he said.

“We’ll make sure that those sites do not have breeding mosquitoes,” he said.

The virus can cause the birth defect microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 30 travel-related cases of Zika virus have been found in the state, including one that was sexually transmitted. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 1,800 travel-related cases of Zika.

The primary mosquito that carries the virus, known as the yellow fever mosquito, is found in the tropics and southern U.S., but isn’t known to be established in Ohio.

The virus is mostly transmitted through mosquito bites and there’s no indication it can be spread from person to person through casual contact, according to the health district. It can be spread through sexual transmission, so couples are encouraged to take steps to prevent spreading the virus by using a condom.

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Pest control companies have seen an increase in requests for backyard spraying to kill mosquitoes due to Zika.

“Especially in the last 30 days, we’ve had a lot of homeowners who have called us,” President of A-1 Able Pest Control Bob McGee said.

The company has fogging treatments it can apply to kill and repel the bugs, McGee said, and often neighbors go in on the treatment together.

A-1 Able also sprays for townships and cities in Clark and Champaign counties, he said.

Other ways to prevent mosquitoes in areas is to dump standing water, such as in bird baths or empty flower pots, McGee said.

Dry summer conditions in the region has meant fewer breeding grounds for mosquitoes, Webb said.

Champaign County has been laying mosquito traps provided by the state for weeks, Webb said, but hasn’t captured many of the pests.

“A lot of it has to do with the fact that it has been really dry this summer. And so we don’t have a lot of mosquito-breeding sites,” he said.

Many counties in the Miami Valley, including Clark County, have received state and federal money to trap and test mosquitoes, health officials said.

So far, that species hasn’t been found in the region, local officials said.

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