Broward County Public Works crews spray chemical to kill mosquitoes in area

Officials expect to see more locally acquired Zika virus cases

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – While most were still asleep, Broward County Public Works crews were up early Wednesday, spraying neighborhoods with biomist, a chemical used to kill mosquitoes.

"That's actually the second and third line of defense that we have," Broward County Public Works director Anh Ton said. "The first line, like I said, is to keep water from standing around people's homes. The second line of defense is to kill the larvae before they hatch and become adult disease-carrying mosquitoes."

Crews are also aggressively treating particular spots where mosquitoes that carry the virus would breed.

"They are what we call the urban mosquito and that's why they survive around us generally, because they like a very small space of water, unlike the big spaces you find in the everglades or a lake," Ton said.

The Broward County Mosquito Control Department has ramped up their operations over the past few months, training additional staff and purchasing new equipment and new chemicals.

Crews are proactively spraying the area, placing chemicals in storm drains and going door to door.

"I think we will get more cases," Ton said. "I don't think it's going to get much worse than what it is right now. The main reason is because mosquito control for us is a year-round operation here. We also work closely with the health department, so we're ready for this disease, unlike other places where they do not have a mosquito control program year-round."

As of Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health reported that 15 people in Miami-Dade and Broward counties had contracted the Zika virus locally. Health officials believe that all cases were transmitted within a one-square mile area in the Wynwood area.

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