Local health departments work to lessen Zika threat

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Summer-like temperatures are here, meaning local health departments are starting their battles with mosquito borne illnesses.

This year, that includes the Zika virus.

Zika has been diagnosed in the United States, but it hasn’t been transmitted here.

Zika has been confirmed in travelers returning from outbreak areas, and Zika infection during pregnancy is linked to serious brain defects in newborns, like microcephaly.
However, some local health departments, like in Hamilton County, aren’t taking any chances.

Here, Zika will be proactively treated the same way other mosquito borne illnesses are, like West Nile virus.

Staffers have begun treating areas where water collects, covering breeding areas with larvicide to kill mosquitoes before they mature, using truck-mounted foggers and testing adult mosquitoes for disease.

“Zika is going to take a little time, I think, to build up in our human population,” said Jason LeMayster with the Hamilton County Health Department. “It’s going to take a lot with travelers moving back and forth.”

To stay out of harm’s way, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says:

  • Eliminate standing water
  • Repair cracks in septic tank plumbing
  • Use screens around your home
  • Use insect repellant

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