Fresno County health officials concerned about the spread of Zika Virus

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Heightened concerns for health officials across America now that the Aedes Aegypti mosquito is transmitting the Zika Virus in Florida. As cases grow, Fresno health leaders are now monitoring the outbreak. So far, local cases have all been related to travel abroad.

"We've had cases even-- already in California and in Fresno County where we've had people travel, get exposed overseas, and come back with Zika. But now this is the first time that we've had someone get it without traveling," said David Luchini, Fresno County Public Health.

Tim Phillips of Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control said the nicknamed "Yellow Fever" mosquito is a lingering threat in the Central Valley. But right now the main focus continues to be the West Nile Virus that's already being transmitted here. The problem with the irritating Aedes Aegypti mosquito is controlling it.

"I heard a report today that Florida is throwing everything they have at it and it's not sufficient because the mosquito is resistant to the chemicals we use," said Phillips.

Fresno County health officials had hoped this past winter would slow the spread of the striped mosquito-- but it didn't.

"We were hoping that the winters were too cold in the Valley and that hasn't been the case, so they've been able to expand. I think we've seen even recently in Firebaugh the Aedes Aegypti has popped up," said Luchini.

Mosquito control officials said local residents should also be on alert and eliminating all standing water sources and potential breeding grounds for this smaller than usual mosquito.

Health officials are worried the locally spread Zika Virus could move to southern states where there's a lot of rain and moisture.

At this point, the Central Valley does not seem to be at great risk because mosquito infestation is not as rampant.
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