Harris County health officials are asking for the public's help in fighting the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses this summer. Residents are urged to clear their properties of any standing water such as old tires, toys, flower pots, even bird baths.
“Some people may ask really, we're having this whole discussion about mosquitoes, we know he have mosquitoes,” says Judge Ed Emmett. “But a few years ago, who had heard of Zika? Go back farther, who had heard of West Nile?”
Public Health Executive Director Dr. Umair Shah kicked off a public awareness campaign Tuesday telling residents “Prevent the Bite, Day and Night.” Officials want to limit the number of those mosquito borne illnesses – Chikungunya.
“The CDC says diseases from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have tripled across the country from 2004 to 2016,” he says. “We have seen 640,000 cases of vector borne cases diseases like Dengue, Lyme disease and Zika all across the country. There have been nine new germs introduced into the U.S.”
“The real key message is to drain that standing water and for people to protect themselves so there is a barrier between them and mosquitoes.”
Dr. Mustapha Debboun is in charge of the county's Mosquito and Vector Control, which has already begun nighttime spraying and placed hundreds of traps around the county.
“We have 10 Microsoft smart traps that have been given to us, so we're testing to see how they do and will probably get additional ones this summer,” said Debboun.