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#Skeeterpatrol: How health officials want you to help fight Zika

Posted at 7:10 PM, May 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-19 19:10:54-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Since Richmond was recently named one on the top U.S. cities for a potential Zika virus outbreak, local health officials are hoping to head off the virus by limiting its main mode of transmission: mosquitoes.  The Richmond City Health District is urging residents to begin regular "Skeeter Patrols."

"Make sure mosquitoes don't have a place to breed. No mosquitoes; no Zika virus," said George Jones with the Richmond City Health District.

Jones took a WTVR CBS 6 crew around a Richmond backyard to show areas where mosquitoes are most likely to breed.  Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on the walls of water-filled containers, like trash cans or empty tops or flipped over furniture.  If water covers the eggs at any point, it only takes 7-10 days for the eggs to develop into adult mosquitoes.  Jones said it is important to begin looking around your backyard and neighborhood for surfaces that can hold water (which includes things like tarps and bird feeders).

Mosquito

Mosquito

Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes do not breed near ponds or lakes.

Experts said the Asian Tiger mosquito, which can carry and transmit Zika, is the biggest problem in Virginia, and that they can be found in every county of the state.

"The Zika virus is most likely to be transmitted in neighborhoods where people are densely packed," said David Gaines, entomologist for the Virginia Department of Health.

Jones with the Richmond Health District said that's one reason it is so important being regularly checking your backyard and neighborhood for potential mosquito breeding grounds.  Jones said they are hoping to being a "Skeeter Patrol" campaign on social media.  If you or your neighbors begin a regular mosquito patrol, health officials ask you to take a picture and post it to social media, #skeeterpatrol.