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Health

States on frontline may not be ready for Zika

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Opening sequence

Health

States on frontline may not be ready for Zika

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COMING UP:States on frontline may not be ready for Zika

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Transcript

00:00:01
>> The coming summer months promise to bring warmer weather to the U.S. and with it, the increased likelihood of the first locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus. But there are huge differences in the ability of many states on the front line of a potential outbreak, where the mosquitos that carry the virus are most prevalent, to fight the onslaught.
00:00:18
Reuters correspondent Julie Steenhuysen Spoke with experts from Southern California to Texas to Florida. The way that mosquito control districts are funded is very local. States really don't provide the money to do this. So, what you have is a huge disparity. You've got Los Angeles that has this great army of people who can go door to door, educate people about what to do about this mosquito, but then you have places in Mississippi where they have not done a survey of the mosquito population in decades.
00:00:52
They don't think that they have zika, or this mosquito, but they don't know.>> There are some 950 different mosquito control programs in the country. Bat Force in Los Angeles is funded by millions of dollars, but others operate on a shoestring budget. And the ones looking to Washington for help may not have much luck.
00:01:10
Last week the senate advanced a bill that would provide 1.1 billion dollars to fight Zika, which has caused thousands of birth defects in Brazil. But that's still less than the 1.9 billion dollars requested by the Obama administration back in February. The centres for disease control is tapping into tens of millions of dollars of existing grant money to help, but the virus could cost much more than that to contain.
00:01:32
That's because many of the usual tactics used to control the insect population like spraying neighborhoods with pesticide at night don't work against the Aedes aegypti mosquito which carries Zika.>> This is a day time biter, it lives very close to people's houses, it bites humans exclusively. In Los Angeles County, they go door to door, they look for you know, tiny reservoirs of water like underneath flower pots or perhaps just a tiny bottle cap.
00:02:03
These are the things that this mosquito likes to breed in, and it's really labor intensive effort.>> For example, LA's mosquito control program has 74 full time staff. Mississippi, on the other hand, has only one paid entomologist in the state. And most of its programs provide little training and require no certification.