The Buzz

Richland County wants residents to fight mosquitoes, help stop Zika

To stop the spread of Zika in South Carolina, Richland County is asking residents to fight the growth of the mosquito population.

Richland County called Tuesday on the public to work to eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can breed. The push is part of a coordinated push by county health departments to stop Zika from spreading through South Carolina by halting the insects that carry the disease.

“If everyone took a few minutes each week to walk around and make sure all standing water has been emptied, it would make things so much better,” said Tammy Brewer of the county. “We have to work together.”

As of Aug. 22, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control had identified 38 Zika cases in South Carolina – 37 travel-related cases and one sexually transmitted case. Pregnant women are most at risk as the disease leads to severe birth defects and pregnancy complications.

While S.C. health officials say a locally contracted, mosquito-borne case of Zika is likely to happen eventually, most expect to see only a few isolated cases rather than a widespread outbreak.

Among the county’s other suggestions for combating Zika:

▪  Moving play equipment, unused plastic pools, old tires and other debris where water can collect

▪  Keeping fresh water in pool areas, bird baths, pet bowls and other places

▪  Safely using effective bug spray and repellent

▪  Reducing exposure by wearing long-sleeved shirts, socks and pants