Monday, October 10, 2016

Matthew creates perfect breeding grounds for Zika

Standing water like this pool, left by a hurricane, is a
breeding ground for mosquitoes (Associated Press photo)
One after-effect of Hurricane Matthew could be perfect breeding grounds for the Zika virus, Franco Ordoñez reports for McClatchy Newspapers. From Florida to the Carolinas "high winds broke through screen doors and windows, knocked out power and left behind small and large bodies of standing water that could serve as new breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Scientists raised concerns that the Zika virus that has touched down in South Florida is now a greater threat to expand and move up the coast."

"Most adult mosquitoes won’t survive the gusts of wind, and flooding will wash away young mosquitoes," Ordoñez writes. "Those that survive, however, will lay new eggs near standing water that will hatch over and grow over the next week, likely boosting the bug population."

After Hurricane Katrina there was a spike in neurological-disease cases associated with the West Nile Virus in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas, Ordoñez writes. A 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that "in 2006, the cases of West Nile virus more than doubled in the hurricane affected areas of Louisiana and Mississippi."

Kevin A. Caillouët, who did the study, told Ordoñez, "Hurricanes cause people to change their daily habits, which can make them vulnerable to bug bites by, for example, opening doors because the air conditioning doesn’t work and spending more time outside fixing what was broken." Caillouët told him, “So when you’re out there rebuilding your house, you’re not thinking about the mosquitoes that are biting at your ankles at the time. You’re thinking about getting your house back in order.” (Read more)

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