City asks residents to help fight mosquito breakout

Published 3:31 pm Friday, February 26, 2016

Mosquitoes might be leaving more than an itchy bite this year.

The City of Bainbridge is urging residents to dispose of standing water to minimize breeding of the tiger mosquito, the insect most responsible for spread of the Zika virus.

With heavy rainfall over the past couple of months in Bainbridge, containers from wash buckets to kiddie pools have been filled with water. Environments like this are where tiger mosquitoes breed.

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“They don’t breed in ponds, they are a container breeder,” Bainbridge Public Services Director Steve Winburn said. “Well, 95 percent of containers that hold water are in peoples yards.

The Zika virus causes fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.

Bainbridge workers began spraying last week to control the mosquitoes. Trucks spray every night in one of four zones the city is divided into. At least one zone is hit every night, sometimes more.

“It’s a little earlier than we usually spray, but we are trying to get a jump on it,” Winburn said.

Spraying won’t handle the problem completely, however, and residents will still be at risk of being bitten and contracting the Zika virus or other diseases.

The City of Bainbridge advises that residents should empty and scrub, turn over, cover or thrown out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys or trash container. If you have a pool, cover it when it’s not in use and treat the water with chemical additives like chlorine.

For fountains or birdbaths, mixing a healthy amount bleach or vegetable oil can help kill any mosquito beds.