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June 22, 2016: US Health Officials Worry About the Houston Neighbors

Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant, Mike Stobbe and Jennifer Kay share this Zika update from Houston, Texas.

“Saron Wyatt pointed to the secluded end of her small street in Houston’s impoverished Fifth Ward, where a mound of old tires keeps popping up.

“Always a trashy nuisance, it’s now a growing danger. Tires collect water and become prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes — especially the ones that spread Zika virus disease and other tropical mosquito-borne illnesses.

“Wyatt, a mother of five, doesn’t know where the tires are coming from. But she’s worried about it, and so are health officials.

Mosquitoes… “can breed in pools of standing water as small as a Styrofoam cup. That means vacant lots or messy yards may need to be cleaned up, whether the owner of the mess wants it cleaned or not.

“Dr. Umair Shah, the head of Houston’s county health department, called getting the cooperation of local residents his department’s biggest issue. ‘It’s really about a neighbor who might have sources of breeding on their property that can impact a neighbor two or three houses down,’ he said.

“Next, health officials or mosquito control workers will visit the properties within that circle and look for standing water where mosquitoes may be breeding, including Styrofoam cups, flower pots, and old tires. They will work with the property owner to remove them, or treat them with chemicals that kill mosquito larvae.

“Since the beginning of the year, Florida residents have sent dozens of emails to Gov. Rick Scott alerting him to overgrown backyards with standing water and expressing concern over Zika, mosquitoes, and the efforts to control mosquitoes.”

Source: ABC News

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