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Health

Pesticides a controversial weapon against Zika

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Opening sequence

Health

Pesticides a controversial weapon against Zika

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COMING UP:Pesticides a controversial weapon against Zika

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00:00:00
>> Pesticide are one of the few weapons in the fight against Zika in Florida. But experts say there are many challenges to its use. Reuters corresponding Julie Steinheisen.>> To address something like Zika virus you have to hit mosquitoes at a number of different vulnerable points, right? You've got an adult population of mosquitoes that is very likely infected with the virus, particularly in this Wynwood neighborhood in Miami.
00:00:28
And to knock down that population they have to use adultacides, right? Insecticides that target adult mosquitos. And there are only two classes of compounds that can kill mosquitos, and they are approved for use in the United States.>> One of these compounds is no longer as effective. Mosquitoes have developed a resistance.
00:00:53
So authorities have now switched to an air campaign with naled but that chemical is toxic to some wildlife including bees, and is banned in Europe and even in Puerto Rico. And even though naled can kill the Aedes aegypti, aerial spraying may miss areas where the mosquitoes spend much of their time under leaves and porches, along building foundations, and even indoors under beds and in closets.
00:01:17
Experts would like to see more chemicals approved for use, but only a few companies make pesticides allowed for widespread outbreaks.>> One of the issues is that there really aren't that many financial incentives for companies to develop new chemicals that kill mosquitoes, at least once that are used for public health.
00:01:38
And part of that issue is that they have to go through a lot of testing and produce a lot of documentation for the EPA to demonstrate that these aren't going to be toxic in the community. So there is this worry that eventually we're not gonna have enough tools in the tool box to fight mosquitoes that carry diseases like Zika.
00:01:59
>> So far, Florida has confirmed nearly four dozen cases of locally transmitted Zika infections>> Health officials have warned pregnant women who are especially vulnerable against traveling to the state.