South Floridians exterminate homes for Zika prevention

MIAMI (WSVN) - South Floridians don’t want the fear of Zika to take a bite out of their summer. As the unofficial start to the season kicks off this weekend, some are taking steps to fight the virus.

Concerns about contracting the Zika virus has a number of South Florida homeowners taking preventative measures.

South Florida’s rainy summer season comes with increased mosquito activity. Now, Floridians have more concerns than just the itch of insect bites. “I hate mosquitos,” said homeowner Renate Manns. “When they get in my house, everybody’s all clamoring to kill it.”

Manns is getting anti-insect protection along with the monthly extermination treatments at her Miami Springs home. “All the stuff in the news about the different viruses and illnesses that the mosquitos can give one,” Manns said. “We decided not only for our protection but just for more comfort not to be bitten up.”

With these measures, Mickell Vilchez with Terminix Miami said, you have a controlled environment. “What it does is it reduces the population by 90 percent and eventually, giving you a controlled mosquito problem in your home,” he said.

Fears about the Zika virus has triggered a surge in calls from customers looking to shield their homes. “It’s a contact kill, so if there are any mosquitos around, they’ll surely die,” said Robert Hutchinson with Truly Nolen Doral. “We also put some birth control inside of the spray, so the mosquitos cannot reproduce around her house.”

As of now, there have been no reports of any infected insects in the U.S., but the Centers for Disease Control counts more than 500 travel-related Zika cases in the country.

Pest control can only do so much to diminish the mosquito population; they need customers and other residents to do their parts. “We also ask customers to remove things that collect water every five to seven days,” Vilchez said. “Repair broken window screens and keep grass short and bushes trimmed … some of the things we ask to help reduce the population.”

Those who contract the Zika virus will likely experience mild, flu-like symptoms that last a few days. However, for women who are pregnant, the disease can cause birth defects like microcephaly.

President Obama is calling on Capitol Hill to find $1.9 billion to put preventative measures in place to keep the country safe from Zika. “Bottom line, Congress needs to get me a bill. It needs to get me a bill with sufficient funds to do the job,” Obama said. “They should not be going off on recess before it is done.”

While there is no vaccine to prevent Zika, the CDC said once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

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