Health officials: What New Mexicans can do at home to prevent Zika

Zika Genetically Modified Mosquitoes
(AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The recent rain is great news for the drought, but it brings on another concern.

Officials are looking into the ability to do their own tests for Zika right here in New Mexico as early as next month.

The New Mexico Department of Health is working to start running samples at its lab in Albuquerque.

While state, county, and local officials are working to keep you safe, they want you to do your part.

The Albuquerque Environmental Health Department says there are things you can do at home to prevent the mosquito population from booming.

While there is no immediate threat in Albuquerque or Bernalillo County, experts say the southern part of the state should be taking certain precautions such as getting rid of any standing water on their property.

Deputy Director at the Environmental Health Department, Dr. Mark DiMenna, says any small amount of water could be a breeding ground for these invasive mosquitoes.

He adds that these mosquitoes will be attracted to any water. That means if you have flower pots, troughs, or even small dishes outside holding water, mosquitoes can and will use that to breed.

Dr. DiMenna says this is something that people need to do themselves. It’s not something health departments are capable of doing.

“The mosquitoes that transmit Zika tend to be more associated with artificial containers and human settlements. We would need get more of a door to door approach to check things like flower pots water fountains or ponds that aren’t churning water or that kind of thing. It really is more labor intensive to go and look for those kind of mosquitoes and treat them where we find them,” said Dr. DiMenna.

As for the CDC, they recommend that people in areas with Zika wear long sleeve shirts, pants, use EPA registered insect repellents and stay in places with air conditioning.

These precautions come as health officials from around the New Mexico prepare to meet next week at an annual conference to discuss handling mosquitoes and Zika virus.

For more information on the Zika virus, click here

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