Local business joins the fight against Zika

Posted at 6:32 PM, Aug 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 13:37:48-04
SOUTHWEST FLORIDA -- Aedes Aegypti, the mosquitos spreading Zika in South Florida, are proving harder to fight than expected.
"Most people who live in Florida they want to be outside, they want to do things outside. They don't want to have to be brought inside by a little insect," said Joe Duer, a technician with Truly Nolen. 
The nationwide extermination company has started a new program in Southwest Florida to address a growing Zika threat. In just a few months, Duer says their efforts to spray mosquitos' resting and breeding sites is booming and their customers are noticing a difference. "They have noticed at least a minimum 80 to 90 percent decrease in mosquitos."
While mosquitos in Southwest Florida are not carrying Zika, experts say those mosquitos can become more difficult to treat as they become more resistent to pesticides.
"We have the ability to change out pesticides as we see fit. If we need to rotate them in and out, that's what we do. We also add in growth regulators to affect the development of the mosquito so that it cannot become an adult mosquito," said Chris Clemente, a spokesman with Truly Nolen.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now investigating 15 cases that may have been caused by local mosquito bites. Health Officials Believe these cases are concentrated in Wynwood, a small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown. A travel advisory has also been issued there by the CDC. The number has grown from only four cases believed to be non-travel related last Friday.
The CDC has urged Floridians to protect themselves by using an insect repellent with deet, wearing clothing that covers your arms and legs, covering winds and doors with screens and getting rid of standing water around your home.
"Any time there is water accumulated on a property, the potential for breeding sites for mosquitos grows," said Clemente.
Governor Rick Scott announced Wednesday that pregnant women across the state will be able to get a free Zika test if they think they've been infected with the mosquito-borne virus. Those tests will be made available at County Health Departments.