Dengue is top concern for experts ahead of rainy season in South Florida

Mosquito breeding will be on rise during summer

By Trent Kelly - Reporter

MIAMI - Rainy season means mosquito breeding will be on the rise. But there are things you can do to combat this pesky problem. 

"On the disease front, we monitor for different viruses on a weekly basis," Dr. Bill Petrie, of Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control, said.

The year-round fight against mosquitoes is once again ramping up as South Florida heads into the rainy, summer season.

Experts say more standing water means more mosquito breeding.

"At the moment, we're testing selected traps, different mosquitoes, once a week for dengue, Zika and chikungunya," Petrie said.

Petrie is the head of Miami-Dade County's Mosquito Control Division, which not only increased its staffing level this year, but is also placing more traps -- 186 to be exact -- throughout parts of the county.

"I think the increased surveillance is key, and the increased number of personnel," Petrie said. "Zika is not actually the main concern this year. It's dengue."

After a relatively tame season last year, Petrie said concern is once again rising after they've noticed a spike in the number Dengue fever cases throughout various Caribbean and South American countries.

"Miami is the hub for all of Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Even if travelers are not staying here, they're generally coming through Miami," Petrie said. 

That means increased exposure if a case is discovered locally, which experts said has not yet happened.

One way the county is continuing to remind residents to fight the bite is by draining and covering any standing water.

"As soon as we get any mention of a suspected case, we will take action immediately," Petrie said.
 

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