Florida is Having Trouble Controlling Zika Virus

swarm of mosquitoes
Science & Medicine

Florida is having a difficult time controlling the Zika virus, as the state has trouble controlling mosquitoes in general. Although the number of locally-transmitted Zika causes has risen from four to 16, there are still many stumbling blocks in the way of curbing a rise in numbers.

The government has considerably slowed down its efforts to give money to the Florida Zika crisis, leaving the Centers for Disease Control to pick up most of the work. The Florida Department of Agriculture has also been delayed due to red tape that requires that they complete many different steps before taking action.

In response to the outbreak, Miami-Dade County has hired more than 100 inspectors, up from their previous staff of just 12. They will also be spraying an area of 10 square miles with Naled, an insecticide that may help kill some of the mosquitoes. And while it is generally effective in controlling mosquito population, it can also wipe out other wildlife unintentionally.

The FDA will also be releasing genetically modified Zika-killing mosquitoes into the Florida Keys to help destroy the population of mosquitoes with the virus. This has incited much debate amongst the local population concerned over its safety, however, the FDA has decided to continue on with releasing the mosquitoes into the wild, despite local protest. [1]

Another issue that Floridians face in keeping Zika at bay is people’s unwillingness to follow protocol when it comes to stopping the spread of mosquitoes or protecting themselves from being bitten. For example, it is recommended that all people within the Miami-Dade area wear mosquito repellent and to dump out containers where mosquitoes breed. These include things like flower pots, broken fountains, clogged gutters, and overturned roof tarps.

However, the fact remains that although people are the best weapon against Zika, they remain the least reliable.

Technical advisor for the American Mosquito Control Association Joseph Conlon, said:

“In Brazil, they did a survey and found 91 percent of the population knows to get rid of containers, but only 55 percent are doing it. We have the same problem with people wearing repellents. What can I say? That really confounds control efforts.” [2]


[1] Fusion.net

[2] Miami Herald