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Zika preventive efforts stepped up in Collier County

Posted at 6:25 PM, Aug 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 18:25:32-04

The Collier County Mosquito Control District is ramping up efforts to keep citizens safe from the Zika virus, especially since Miami-Dade - where known locally-transmitted cases have been spread by mosquitoes - is just one county away.

"We're constantly evaluating how we spray," said biologist Mark Kartzinel of  the Collier County Mosquito Control District. "We're tweaking here or there, to get the most efficient application, so that we get the highest percentage kills of the mosquitoes."

He said that Aedes aegypti - a type of mosquito that can carry Zika - requires constant monitoring, since it's an urbanized species of mosquito that specifically likes human blood and is commonly found in Collier County.

Mosquito Control biologists are using traps called BG Sentinels throughout the county containing synthetic human scent lures that catch adult Aedes aegypti, and give researchers a better understanding of where the highest concentrations of the mosquitoes are, so that they know where to concentrate spraying efforts.

But Kartzinel said residents need to monitor their homes for things like old tires and flower pots which can collect small pockets of water - prime breeding grounds for Aedes aegypti larvae.

"Look around your house," Kartzinel advised. "Make sure that you don't have containers filled with water."

Collier County's Solid Waste Department reminds reminds residents that they can get old standard-sized vehicle tires picked up for free on their recycling collection day. They just need to make sure to call Solid Waste customer service to schedule a pick-up time at least 48 hours ahead of time, or could possibly face a fine for leaving tires at the curb. The number to call is 239-252-2380.

There are currently 11 cases of Zika in Southwest Florida. Each patient contracted the virus overseas.