Prevention is best way to prevent mosquito-borne illness, expert says

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There are rising concerns about mosquito-borne infections as the weather gets warmer.

The La Crosse encephalitis and West Nile viruses are common in North Carolina but a new worry is the Zika virus.

The mosquito life cycle is short, just a few weeks, but during that time they can spread viruses through bites.

“All mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide which we exhale and body heat,” said mosquito expert Dr. Mike Waldvogel with N.C. State.

He said prevention is the best way to stop mosquito bites and to slow the spread of viruses.

“It starts with what we technically call source reduction, which is a fancy way of saying get off your rear end, go out and look around your yard at all those things that you’ve been meaning to get rid of that collect water,” Waldvogel said.

Checking around your yard or apartment complex is your best bet to prevent mosquito breeding.

Over-watered flower pots and dirty bird baths are ideal places for mosquitoes to breed.

A space as small as a bottle cap is enough to help breed hundreds of mosquitoes.

“Short of wearing long clothing which gets real uncomfortable in the summer, the best thing is to be careful and use repellents. We do know that chemicals in our sweat seem to attract mosquitos to some people more than others, so it isn’t a fable that you can be a mosquito magnet in that case,” Waldvogel said.

Dr. Megan Davies, chief of the epidemiology section of the North Carolina Division of Public Health said there is no reason to worry about Zika in North Carolina.

“Here in North Carolina we do have some mosquitos that are known to be able to carry the Zika virus, but we don’t have any Zika being transmitted,” Davies said.

She said anyone traveling to South and Central America along with the Caribbean need to be concerned.

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