Pa. continues efforts to control Zika as mosquitoes spread virus in Florida

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – There are no locally acquired cases of Zika in Pennsylvania, but the state Department of Health is looking out for the mosquito species that carries the virus.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four people in Florida likely contracted Zika from mosquitoes.

“We have developed a plan to monitor the presence of the aedes aegypti,” Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy said.

Aedes aegypti is the mosquito responsible for the Florida cases. The Health Department said Pennsylvania hasn’t seen those mosquitoes here in more than 15 years.

“The majority of the cases in Pennsylvania in the future will likely be travel-related cases. The weather is not as conducive to it, nor are the population dynamics to make it an issue in Pennsylvania,” Dr. Matthew Howie of the York City Bureau of Health said.

If a person is infected and then bitten by a mosquito, that same mosquito can transmit the virus to others. The state has developed a plan to monitor the presence of both the aedes aegypti and aedes albopictus mosquitoes, laying traps across 26 counties.

“This mosquito only travels 150 yards, so when it is detected it has a very local range of where we would go in and do mosquito abatement,” Murphy said.

There is a four-week time period of contracting the virus once exposed. Officials recommend you wear protection when sexually active during that time, use bug spray, and avoid areas with mosquitoes.

The West Nile technician with Cumberland County Public Safety said they’ve set up additional Zika traps in urban areas.

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