Martin Co. getting head start on fighting Zika

Posted at 6:15 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 18:44:18-05

Martin county resident James Orlando says it pays to be active.

"8, 9 hours I'm always [outside]," he says.

However, he knows the cost of being outdoors in Florida stings.

"All the water is over here, stagnant water," he says, pointing at a construction area near his house. "You got the creek in the back, and that's where mosquitos live."

That's why the Zika virus, half a world away, has captured his attention - even though he's not necessarily worried about his health.

"You walk into stores, you see pregnant women," he says. "God forbid something happens."

The mosquito borne illness has little effect on most people, but for pregnant women, it can be devastating - causing deformities and developmental issues in newborns.

Martin County Mosquito control is on the look out.

Carlyn Porter with Martin County mosquito control says its possible - likely even- that a person with the virus could travel into the area.

From there, it could spread.

"That's what we want to prevent, is the Zika from the imported case to a mosquito to a local resident here."

Porter says the Aedes Aegypti mosquito is the one responsible for spreading the virus.

They’re now taking steps in the laboratory to make sure the chemicals they have to stop them are still effective.

"You essentially have five different bottles, five different dosages, making sure the mosquitos are still responding appropriately to the chemicals we're using to control them," Porter says.

She says past experience with a Dengue outbreak in 2013 make them well equipped to tackle this virus - something James is grateful for.

"To get ahead on something that's very bad…I'm proud of the county if they do that."

Mosquito control will meet with with the health department on Wednesday to lay out its plans.

The agency also encourages you to remove any standing water from around your home to minimize the breeding ground for mosquitos, and to use bug repellant when you are outdoors.