Is aerial spraying to combat Zika working?

Zika continues to spread in Miami-Dade

Photo by James Gathany

After two weeks of planes spraying aerial pesticides over infected areas, such as Wynwood, officials are positive their plan seems to be working but Miami isn’t in the clear yet.

As The Miami Herald reports, an aerial spraying program that uses two different pesticides-one for adults, the other for mosquito eggs and larvae- have been successfully destroying the population of mosquitos in a two-square-mile zone of Wynwood. The other 10-mile-square zone, which makes up about 80 percent of where Zika is said to be found, isn’t having the same luck as the possible Zika-infested mosquitos in the area are refusing to die as the county sprays naled, a popular U.S. insecticide that is banned in Europe because of its risk to wildlife.

As the Florida Health Department explains, Zika is primarily transmitted through the bite of a certain type of mosquito: the Aedes, and while it poses no threat through casual person-to-person contact, blood transfusion and sexual contact can transmit it. While there is currently no vaccine to protect oneself from the virus, if a person were to be infected by Zika, it would be like they were suffering from an extremely bad flu, with symptoms including but not limited to fever, vomiting, pink-eye, muscle and joint pain, immense tiredness and rashes.

As far as we know, it takes about 2-14 days for an infected person to show symptoms and afterwards it takes about a week for the virus to be fully out of the bloodstream but while the symptoms of Zika appear to be non life-threatening pregnant women and their unborn babies face some more serious problems with the virus.

It has been reported that a mother bitten by a Zika infested mosquito can transmit the disease to her unborn baby and may result with the baby being born with microcephaly, a birth defect that causes the baby’s head and brain to be smaller than expected. While there is no formal study to support this claim, Brazil’s Ministry of Health has reported that there has been an increasing number of microcephaly newborns in areas where Zika outbreaks have occurred.

As of Monday, August 15, there has been a total of 30 locally transmitted cases of Zika confirmed in Miami-Dade with the health department confirming that about 322 travel-associated Zika cases have been reported in Florida yet according to a statement released by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, more than 25,000 mosquitos have been tested in Florida by The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and none have been positive.

Even though the two latest locally transmitted cases occurred outside the expected one square mile around Wynwood, Scott said that the state still believes the transmissions are occurring in the Wynwood area and are working to provide additional funding for additional staff and mosquito traps to “ensure the county has every possible tool to fight Zika.”

DOH will also be sending commercial pest control companies to assist with the mosquito control in Miami-Dade County.



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