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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


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Change Your Pet's Water Bowl to Prevent Zika

Standing water around your home will increase the mosquito population. Health officials urge you to dump it out, and to use repellent. (Mass.gov)
Standing water around your home will increase the mosquito population. Health officials urge you to dump it out, and to use repellent. (Mass.gov)
April 21, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Although the mosquito that carries the Zika virus is still limited to Central America and the Caribbean, some experts say it's likely just a matter of time before it is in the U.S.

The mosquito that carries the virus is urban and breeds in water near homes. It only takes a tiny bit of water, even a bottle cap full, for it to lay eggs.

State Public Health Director Dr. Susan Weinstein says targeting standing water is key.

"The water underneath the flower pot,” she points out. “Make sure your gutters are flowing clear and not retaining water in them. Bird baths, tires, even a tarp over a grill if it's got a little dip in it and collects water. "

Pet bowls filled with water are OK, as long as the water is changed twice a week.

Weinstein says it takes a week for the eggs to hatch. She says when outdoors you should wear long clothing and use mosquito repellent.

Weinstein says about 80 percent of those infected with the Zika virus never show symptoms, so they may not even realize they have it, and that increases the chances the virus will show up in this country.

"Someone who has traveled, they come back here and get bitten by one of our mosquitoes, then that mosquito would pick up the virus from the person and can transmit it to another person," she explains.

The mosquitoes that carry Zika don't breed in stagnant, debris-filled water and don't breed in Arkansas' many flooded rice fields. However, Weinstein says the mosquito that carries the West Nile virus does, so all precautions to protect against any mosquito is necessary to prevent illness.


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - AR