Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, County Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein and other local officials announced a mosquito trapping and surveillance plan in light of the Zika virus spread.
The Zika action plan aims to help county residents identify spots around the home where mosquitoes are most likely to hatch eggs.
“With the spread of the Zika virus overseas, we urge residents who travel to take precautions,” Mangano said. Officials urge residents to wear long socks and protective clothing while outside for long periods of time, filter ornamental ponds using a circulation pump, maintain lawns groomed to prevent overgrowth, check window or door screens and repair as needed to ensure mosquitoes cannot enter the home, clear leaves and debris to allow water to flow freely from drainage ditches and roof gutters, change the water and clean bird baths and empty water that collects in folds of tarps.
Mangano also said the biggest breeding sites for mosquitoes are the ones homeowners least think are problematic.
“What people don’t know is that there can be a half inch of water in a child’s toy or in a bottle cap, a flowerpot saucer or water can,” Mangano said. “That half inch is enough for mosquitoes to hatch eggs and reproduce.”
Eisenstein said it is imperative to remove standing water from any container or surface around the home. This way, mosquitoes that carry the Zika or West Nile viruses can be eliminated.
Mangano said the Department of Health has begun testing sites around Nassau County.
According to projecthope.org, the Zika virus first spread from Africa and Asia to a Pacific island in 2007. By May 15, 2015, Brazil reported its first case of the Zika virus and, in November, declared a national public health emergency. By January 20, 2016, almost 4,000 cases of skull deformities were reported around the world.
Eisenstein urged people to watch for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are known to carry the Zika virus. “The Aedes mosquito, unlike many others, is a daytime biter,” he said.
Fortunately, the Aedes mosquito makes up only about 3 percent of the mosquito population, Eisenstein said.