Zika concerns discussed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Zika concerns discussed

Posted: Updated:
(KWWL) -

With warmer weather in the forecast, health officials remind you to protect yourself from mosquitoes, because they can carry disease.

With seven reported cases of the Zika virus in the state, health department workers are using a new and improved way to monitor the Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

Even though mosquitoes that typically carry the Zika virus aren't native to the area, health officials say they can sometimes show up here. 

Black Hawk County health officials use a new device called the Gravid trap to capture and track positive-virus mosquitoes.

Health Officer Eric Heinen said these new traps, unlike like traps used for track West Nile, are ideal for tracking Zika.

"And, by seeing what mosquitoes are in the trap we can tell what kind of diseases might be in the area. Also, females are the only ones that bite, so we can also see how many females are in the area," Heinen said.

Even though the mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus are not native to to the area, they can show up here.

"So far it's been pretty slow. We had a pretty dry May, and we don't have a lot of standing water. It's supposed to get hot here in the next few days, so that will cause more mosquitoes to hatch quicker," Heinen said.

Health officials say the best way to protect yourself from Zika this summer is to spray, and cover up as much as possible.

"Just be cautious, especially if you're out. in the woods or something where there are mosquitoes. Take precautions like wearing long-sleeve shirts, spray with DEET, and that will reduce your chances of getting bit," Heinen said.

The Iowa Department of Health says seven reported cases of Zika cases in the state came from patients who were traveling from warmer climates where Zika is far more common.

Powered by Frankly