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Zika Virus


Many have seen news coverage regarding the Zika virus which has been found to have devastating health effects for public and personal health.  It is the mission of the Clark County Health Department to protect the health of county residents, but our residents have a role in protecting themselves and neighbors too. 


Although Zika is a concern for our community, we must remember that we have other Vector-Bourne threats that already affect our community such as West Nile Virus, St Louis Encephalitis, etc.  The State believes at this time that the threat of Zika becoming established in Clark County is low, however we must take precautions that will help minimize risk for diseases already here and the potential for the Zika Virus transmission. 


In order to be effective at treating and minimizing our community risk, the biology and habitat of the mosquitoes involved are key to successful control.  The two viruses that most people have concerns regarding are West Nile Virus and now Zika Virus.  These two viruses are transmitted by two different mosquitoes.  The Culex Gensis mosquito (often the Northern House Mosquito) is primarily responsible for transmission of West Nile Virus, it tends to be active in the evenings and likes to breed in highly organic waters such as failing septics, tires, gutters, etc.  These mosquitoes are treated effectively with pesticides that include larvacides and adulticides (mosquito spray trucks).


The Zika Virus is thought to be transmitted by Aedes Albopictus often identified by white banding on legs and body.  These mosquitoes are container breeders primarily and are often found breeding in backyards that have tires, empty flower pots, clogged gutters, etc.  This mosquito however tends to be active during the day which varies from the West Nile carrying mosquito witch is often active from dusk until dawn.  The Aedes Albopictus mosquito is difficult to treat because of the time it is most active.  The mosquito trucks spraying chemicals in the evening hours cannot typically spray during the day when these mosquitoes are active because the chemicals used can kill the local honeybee population.  Therefore, larvaciding or treating the breeding sites directly is the only viable option.  Although the Clark County Health Department will make every attempt to treat this mosquito population, it will be impossible to go from door to door to make treatments on the containers found on private property. 


Therefore the health department is relying on you and your neighbors to cleanup and remove items on your private property that may be holding water, and remember a bottle cap is sufficient to breed these mosquitoes.  The effectiveness and control of both West Nile and the Zika Virus largely depends on you to help your family and your neighbors. 


For information on where to look for breeding sites on your property click the link below for a pamphlet identifying areas you may be able to address.