Palm Beach County aggressively fighting Zika

Posted at 8:05 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 20:05:24-04

Palm Beach County's first positive case of Zika Virus was confirmed Wednesday, but county leaders say they've already been preparing to fight the spread of the virus for weeks.

County health officials put out fliers warning residents to dump out any standing water in their yards. The county commission also developed a plan to allow for extra funding for the county's Mosquito Control office, in case the virus were to become a local issue.

"We've been monitoring," said Commissioner Steven Abrams. "The county's been spraying, and so we really are ready for the eventuality that it would come into Palm Beach County."

So far, Mosquito Management officials say the county has provided extra funding for three new hand foggers. According to the Palm Beach County Health Department, crews have taken them to 33 neighborhoods where people who have reported Zika symptoms live.

"As soon as we get a suspect Zika case while the patient's blood is still being tested and run for the disease, we're out there the following day looking for any potential breeding sites," said Chris Reisinger, Palm Beach County's Mosquito Control Environmental Analyst.

The idea is to kill any mosquitos that could have bitten an infected person and could potentially spread the virus to someone else.

So far, Florida hasn't seen any local mosquito-transmitted cases, all cases have come from people who were infected outside of the United States.

"If there's local transmission we will definitely see an increase in our budget and our workforce," Reisinger said.

According to Reisinger, Mosquito Control inspectors took hand foggers to the neighborhood where the infected person lived once that person reported showing symptoms and again when the virus was confirmed in that person.

The Florida Department of Health says that person contracted the virus while traveling in Suriname.