Help control mosquitoes that spread Zika virus Published Aug. 4, 2016 By Heidi Hunt PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- By now, many Florida residents have likely heard of the Zika virus and how it’s primarily contracted. Currently, the Florida Department of Health has identified an area with local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in Miami, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, Governor Rick Scott announced Aug. 1, 2016, that the Florida Department of Health has identified 14 additional people in Miami who have likely contracted the Zika virus locally through mosquito bites. Local health officials have been preparing to prevent the potential for virus spread as the temperature and opportunities for mosquito breeding are expected to increase. Patrick Air Force Base Public Health has set mosquito traps around base and routinely submit specimens to the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine laboratory. The 45th Civil Engineer Squadron Entomology and the 45th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Public Health offices request everyone’s help to prevent the spread of mosquitoes that may potentially carry diseases such as the Zika virus. “Everyone can play a role in helping to stopping Zika by eliminating mosquito breeding sites and utilizing proper mosquito protection tools,” said Capt. Daviesha Rice, 45th AMDS Public Health flight commander. “The best way to reduce mosquito numbers is to get rid of any standing water around homes and similar living and working areas.” Breeding sites include any locations of standing water such as pool covers, flower pots, old tires, unused pet water bowls, and other sites where water has collected. Individuals should routinely monitor areas around their home and appropriately dump, cover, or flip any outdoor items that can accumulate standing water. To avoid infection, people should avoid areas with high mosquito populations when possible, and regularly apply an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors. Zika can be transmitted sexually; therefore, consistent condom use during sexual activity is strongly advised. Since mosquitoes are known to transmit more than just Zika, it’s wise to consistently reduce exposure to mosquitoes when possible, wear clothes that cover the skin, and apply mosquito repellent while outdoors for extended periods, even in the daytime. If travelling to a location where Zika is actively being transmitted, it’s wise to be prepared to fully protect oneself at all times, regardless of anticipated activities. More information on the Zika virus may be found at: CDC website http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ or http://health.mil/zika. For additional information, contact the 45th Aerospace Medical Squadron Public Health Office at (321) 494-8292.