Broward mosquito control working to spray county amid Zika cases

PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward County officials are working around the clock to do their part to help prevent the spread of the Zika virus in South Florida.

A team of eight people at Broward County Mosquito Control is in charge of spraying chemicals in order to prevent mosquitoes from becoming a health threat to residents, but they are so backed up with requests that they have enlisted the aid of highway maintenance groups to spray the insecticide.

7News cameras captured crew members as they prepared to go out into the field, Friday morning. In what has become a familiar sight for residents, trucks spread the chemicals during the early morning hours.

But spraying is only part of the battle. Crews literally walk through every neighborhood as they collect samples that they bring back to be tested at the Broward Mosquito Control facility, located just off of North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines.

A scientist at the facility then carefully examines the larvae and determines what kind of chemicals they will spray on adult mosquitoes. “Depending on the different types of mosquitoes that are out there, we use a different cocktail or treatment,” said Broward County Mosquito Control Director Anh Ton.

Two kinds of mosquitoes are carrying the Zika virus. They are the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.

Ton said the scientist faces a set of challenges before he makes a recommendation on the most effective way to eradicate these mosquitoes. “What he does is, sometimes, he dissects the mosquito to find out the different age of the mosquito,” he said, “and also we check for possible resistance to the different products that we apply out there.”

The team is working under extraordinary circumstances. At this time of year, they usually receive about 500 requests for mosquito spraying across the county. They currently have about 6,000 work orders sitting on their desks. “It’s mostly due to the scare of this virus, and understandably so,” said Ton.

Officials advise residents to take steps to prevent the mosquito population from spreading, including dumping standing water in and around their homes.

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