MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With Summer and our traditional ‘rainy season’ just around the corner, community leaders are working together to figure out the best way in controlling Miami-Dade’s mosquito population to stem another outbreak of the Zika virus.
At a workshop Monday in Doral, there was a certain buzz in the air as talks turned to taking proactive measures now to prevent an explosion in mosquito populations a few months from now.
Last year, Miami-Dade when to great lengths to eradicate mosquito populations after the government declared four areas in the county ‘Zika Hot Zones’ and warned people against visiting these areas.
At Monday’s meeting, code enforcement officers from various cities and municipalities were told their departments were the ‘boots on the ground’ first line of defense to prevent a repeat from last year.
“We can use them to help us to look for breeding sites, to abate those breeding sites, and also to take those important messages back to the residents in their communities,” said Gayle Love, with the county’s mosquito control department.
Mosquito eggs can lie dormant indefinitely. It’s estimated billions of them are the walls of now dry containers.
“They’re just waiting to be flooded with rainfall and then start a new cycle given the rainy season,” said Chalmers Vasquez, with the county’s mosquito control department.
The problem is not just endemic to South Florida.
Governor Rick Scott has been hosting Zika awareness roundtables around the state over the last couple of weeks.
As mosquitoes begin to hatch, the message is ‘people need to protect themselves’.
“Everyone needs to be aware that mosquitoes are around and they need to wear appropriate clothing if they are going to be out, use mosquito repellent,” said Paul Maurelio with mosquito control.
The best way to prevent mosquitoes from hatching is to empty water on your property. Don’t let it stand in containers and flush the containers out thoroughly to get rid of any eggs that may be inside.
The Centers for Disease Control still advises pregnant women to skip visiting Miami-Dade and the beaches. Zika can cause a severe birth defect and brain damage.