City prepares to fight Zika as mosquito season begins

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Last year, 12 cases of Zika were found in Franklin County. The Columbus Public Health department says Zika can be a year-round threat when traveling–however, it starts sounding like more of a concern around this time because it’s mosquito season.

There are currently 2 confirmed Zika cases in Columbus and another case is being tested. The city sets up anywhere from 50-60 traps around the city and tests water for mosquito larvae.

“We’re getting ready for mosquito season so in a few weeks we will start trapping and counting mosquitoes so that we can direct our efforts towards spraying later on in the summer,” said Jose Rodriguez, director of public affairs and communications for Columbus Public Health.

Vector control program manager Columbus public health, Ryan Younge, sees that testing for the Zika virus on the mosquitoes first hand.

“The mosquitoes that we have here in Ohio are not actually transmitting the virus locally, so the cases that we have of Zika here in Ohio are from people who have traveled to areas where the mosquito carries the virus is located.”

Rodriguez adds when traveling to areas in Latin, South and Central America or the Caribbean, look for signs of Zika, which are flu-like symptoms.

As for the cases that already exist in our area, Younge said, “These are all people that travel to Zika-infested area and contracted the disease outside of the country or outside of the region. Their cases are recovering or have recovered so that’s good news.

“People should still take precaution for getting bit by mosquitoes, emptying standing water, that kind of thing, because of the potential for the mosquito to carry the virus,” he added.

“Stay away from areas where you know that there’s more mosquitoes so anytime you have a heavy brush or going into the woods. Wear protective clothing so long sleeves long pants and a hat,” Rodriguez said. “Make sure you wear a repellent so you can protect yourself.”

There’s been a lot of rain lately and we can expect more in the next several days. The health department says that can cause a concern so they are doing more testing for mosquito larvae.

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