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Health experts expect active Zika season, ask residents to clear standing water in yards

RICHMOND, Va. – Health officials said that both the city and property owners need to do the appropriate maintenance to help eliminate mosquitoes – and the dangerous viruses they can spread.

Standing water can be found in numerous places;  in back yards after heavy rains, inside of old containers and debris dumped in city alleys, and in large potholes.

As the forecast ushers in warm weather, George Jones with the Richmond Health District said that Asian Tiger mosquitoes become very active. He also said that residents have good cause to be concerned.

Jones is a part of the Zika virus task force, who work to spread awareness so that residents can do their part to prevent the disease.

“Particularly because the type of mosquito that carries Zika breeds in small containers around the home,” Jones said.

He added that maintaining the areas around homes and in alleys is critical for the city and for property owners.

“I know the city is working hard with the resources they have and it’s one of their strategic points, addressing bulk and trash in the city — making an effort to clean that up,” Jones said.

“We’ve had a lot of rain, there is always water here,” said city resident Iris Jackson. “I wouldn’t open my windows, it is mosquito season now.”

She said that overgrown brush spreading across the alley forces traffic to drive close to her fence line, which in turn leaves big potholes filled with standing water.

City resident Iris Jackson worries over the standing water left in potholes.

“My biggest concern is that it’s mosquito season, and I’m nervous about disease,” she said.

The CDC has a list of steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home:

  • Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use air conditioning when available.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air-conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. Check inside and outside your home. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.

Richmond-area citizens can report potholes through various ways.