ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. -- St. Lucie County Mosquito Control and Coastal Management employees are increasing efforts to prevent mosquito breeding after the first case of travel-related Zika Virus has been confirmed in the county.
County spokesman Erick Gill says Mosquito Control employees have begun additional inspections, street spraying and neighborhood sweeps to check for standing water.
Mosquito Control staff is also working closely with the Florida Department of Health and will initiate additional neighborhood sweeps and spraying when needed.
Crews have been trapping mosquitos and sending samples to the state to be sure there are no mosquitos carrying the virus locally.
Crews have also tested and inspected the area where the person infected with the virus lives to be sure there are no mosquitos in that area than can transfer the virus.
Residents and business owners are being asked to prevent standing water from developing around their properties, creating a breeding ground for mosquitos.
Mosquito Control employees say high-risk businesses include cemeteries and tire recycling businesses.
Garry Garrick owns Bayshore Used Tires and More, LLC in Port St. Lucie.
“When we start hearing on the news about Zika and stuff like that, then you put an extra effort not to breed any mosquitos because you don’t know which one is going to have the Zika virus,” Garrick said.
Garrick says more than a hundred tires sit in the back of his store, at times, waiting to be recycled.
As they sit, they can also collect water, creating prime breeding grounds for mosquitos.
“You know, it’s dangerous for the people. It’s dangerous for the environment, so we’ve got to try to get rid of that as soon as possible because we don’t want people to get sick,” Garrick says.
His employees are careful to drain water inside tires.
Garrick also puts dish soap inside the tires before they’re placed outside. He says mosquitos are not attracted to soapy water.
All reported cases of Zika have been travel associated. There have been no locally-acquired cases of Zika in Florida.
For more information on current Mosquito Control efforts please contact the St. Lucie County Mosquito Control Hotline at 772-462-1692. The most up-to-date information on fogging operations is also posted online: www.stlucieco.gov/mosquito.