Officials are making efforts to combat mosquitos, but the virus has spread locally
For the first time, Zika has been definitively traced to captured mosquitos in the continental U.S. Following the first cases of the virus that were assessed to have been locally-transmitted in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties at the end of July, officials have now trapped and identified local mosquitos that carry it. Three groups of mosquitos in Miami Beach were found to have Zika, and a local flower is making control of the insects difficult.
One of the traps that tested positive for Zika was placed at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. The gardens are home to bromeliads, which are plants that produce colorful flowers. And due to the water that gets trapped in their cylindrical centers, bromeliads are proving to be popular breeding grounds for mosquitos.
“Everyone should know by now that bromeliads are really problematic for us,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Associated Press. “These are probably the number one breeding area for mosquitos.”
Miami Beach is now in the process of removing all bromeliads from its landscaping. Residents are also strongly encouraged to do the same or rinse them off after it rains.
The spread of Zika is a concern in Miami-Dade County
Although the removal of bromeliads could be a big help, it may only be slowing down the spread of Zika, not stopping it altogether. Just recently, the Florida Department of Health confirmed that six more people have gotten the virus in Miami Beach. The number of local Zika cases has climbed to 40, with most instances in Miami Beach and Wynwood, the district north of downtown Miami.
The latest case is troubling, as officials say it occurred outside of those two areas; a resident of Miami-Dade County has contracted the virus, though the exact location has yet to be revealed. Officials are still trying to determine if it is an isolated incident or represents a wider breakout.
So far, Florida has confirmed that 577 people have contracted Zika while traveling abroad, which includes 80 pregnant women.
What you can do to keep virus-carrying mosquitos away
To make sure you and your family stay safe, there are certain things you can do. First, take a good look around your yard to find any standing water. If you notice any, dump it immediately. Also, any time you plan to go outside, be sure to apply mosquito repellant and then reapply it as necessary, and consider wearing clothes that cover more areas of skin.
To further protect your home or business, you should consider installation of a mosquito misting system. At Platinum Mosquito Protection, our automatic systems use Pyrethrum, an extract of the chrysanthemum flower that affects the central nervous system of an insect, paralyzing it. Mosquitos have not developed any known resistance to Pyrethrum, so regularly spraying it in small amounts is one of the most effective ways to keep mosquitos from becoming a problem around your home or business.
Contact us to learn more about getting your own mosquito misting system or to request a free onsite consultation.