Zika-carrying mosquitoes continue to cause concern

Metro Health urges property owners to get rid of standing water

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - As the temperature rises, so do concerns and warnings about mosquitoes and the Zika virus.

So far this year, 11 cases of Zika have been reported to the state. One of those is from Bexar County. All are related to travel.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is urging community health officials to take precautions.

"The Zika mosquito isn't really going away," said Stephen Barscewski, head of vector control for Metro Health.

The mild winter weather created a better habitat for the mosquito, he said.

"The mosquito is also very stealthy, very aggressive, " Barscewski added.

Metro Health is on the offensive and has an arsenal of foggers, turbines and backpack misters ready to treat areas of concern. That machinery targets flying mosquitoes. 

The more effective battle, according to Barscewski, is fought on the ground. The department uses various larvacides to kill off early-stage mosquitoes, which are breeding and hatching in standing water.

The so-called "mosquito dunks" the department uses can be purchased at home improvement stores as well.

Because they can only treat public areas, they are encouraging private property owners to take action by getting rid of standing water often overlooked in places such as old tires, toys and bird baths. The department urges pet owners to put fresh water in bowls. It also advises residents to check their window screens and stock up on repellent.

"If you're not protected by using insect repellent with DEET, wearing long sleeves and pants, it's going to be very easy to get bitten," Barscewski said.

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