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BREAKING: Zika Virus Case Confirmed In Osceola County

SLIDESHOW: The subject of all the fuss: Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. Both it and Aedes albopictus can spread Zika, and are found year-round throughout Florida.

Orange County Mosquito Control visited 29,000 properties last year. It’s under Orange County’s Health Services Department. During a tour through mosquito control HQ, we see some of the tools to combat mosquitoes. Including chickens.

Meet the sentinel chickens. This flock, and others all across Orange County, are checked weekly for mosquito-borne illnesses that show up in birds before humans. 

Don’t worry: Chickens who test positive for a mosquito-borne illness aren’t put down, they get new homes.

A centrifuge is used to prep the chicken blood to be sent out to a lab for testing.

“We send these samples to the state health laboratory,” said Kelly Deutsch, assistant manager of the Mosquito Control Division. “They get checked for West Nile Virus, Saint Louis encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, and the Highlands J virus.”

Those little black specks aren’t tadpoles; they’re mosquito larvae.

If your eyes are good enough, you can spot the distinctive white stripes on the yellow fever mosquito. 

The war chest of mosquito-fighting tools. Big-time fogger in the back, hand-held fogger, larvicide and traps.

It’s a trap: There’s a fan that sucks mosquitoes into this trap. And the bait is human-scented. Ew.

The trap is battery-powered, but surprisingly quiet. It's worth noting this is a trap, and wouldn't actually work to keep you from being bit.

This simple device allows for workers to collect the mosquito larvae and hatch them in a lab. The dark cup and lighter stick attracts the mosquitoes by resembling a naturally-occurring environment, like a knot in a tree.

This is the dipper, used by mosquito control workers to collect water samples in the field and look for larvae in the field.

Amador Rodriguez, operations supervisor for Orange County Mosquito Control division, shows off mosquito larvae hiding out in a tire.

Central Florida has gotten its first confirmed case of the travel-related Zika virus.Osceola County is one of seven Florida counties with CDC-confirmed cases. The Florida Department of Health said all of Florida’s cases were acquired while traveling outside the U.S., but Florida does have the mosquitoes which can transmit the virus from person-to-person.

Florida Governor Rick Scott this week declared a health emergency in counties with the virus. Scott also asked the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention for more equipment to test for Zika.

See below for a breakdown of where the 14 Florida Zika cases have been confirmed.

  • Hillsborough: 3 cases
  • Miami-Dade: 5 cases
  • Lee: 2 cases
  • Santa Rosa: 1 case
  • Broward: 1 case
  • St. Johns: 1 case
  • Osceola: 1 case

WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by Florida Hospital.

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