State health officials have distributed 224 of the 500 traps used to catch mosquitoes potentially carrying the Zika virus in Ohio.
The traps — some of which are being distributed in the Miami Valley — are arriving from the Ohio Department of Health after struggles with funding earlier this summer.
Montgomery County has received four of the special BG Sentinel traps. A total 50 counties including Butler, Clark, Greene, Miami, Preble and Warren are also receiving the traps, according to ODH spokeswoman Melanie Amato.
The traps, which resemble collapsible laundry baskets and are bated with the scent of humans, are made to catch the Asian tiger mosquitoes, but can catch other breeds, too. The captured mosquitoes will be sent to the state health department for testing.
“We have a regular mosquito prevention program, and this is just a part of that program,” said Dan Suffoletto of Public Health — Dayton and Montgomery County.
The traps will be located throughout the counties that receive them. In Montgomery County, each trap will stay in the same location for a 24-hour period before it’s contents are collected and it is relocated.
“If we do end up with some with a case of Zika, traps will be put around their home to see if infested mosquitoes are in the area,” said Suffoletto.
The number of traps received by each county is dependent on population. Amato said the state ordered 500 traps but did not receive all it requested, noting there is only one company in the world that manufactures the traps.
There have been 1,306 Zika cases in the United States, all but one of which were travel-associated, meaning they were not acquired locally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five of those cases were reported in Ohio as of July 13.
Miami County Public Health received two of the traps, which are being placed now and throughout the summer in primarily residential areas and neighborhoods, said Kari Boyle, health district health educator and Safe Communities coordinator. They also can be placed in locations where there are complaints of large amounts of mosquitoes, she said.
“In addition to surveillance, MCPH will be able to provide clients with educational materials and insect repellent,” Boyle said. These activities will be paid for with a $5,000 grant Miami County Public Health received from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in June.
“Since Zika poses a risk of serious birth defects, these items can be provided to clients in the prenatal clinic; reproductive health clinic; Women, Infant and Children clients; as well as travel vaccination participants,” Boyle said.
Warren County received three of the traps. Health officials there also intend to spread the traps across the county.
“Our intention is to make sure there isn’t a part of the county we don’t get a trap in,” said Chris Balster, Warren County Combined Health District director of environmental health.
Greene County Public Health has received traps, according to Laurie Fox, public information officer for the department. She said she was unsure how many traps, but the plan is to place them in complaint areas and areas with ongoing problems due to standing water
In Butler County, officials are using three types of traps around the county. The health board will use past years’ information to target trouble areas with high populations of mosquitoes, with traps scheduled to be placed in their first locations early next week.
“We don’t want people to forget about the fact that Zika isn’t the only disease we have to worry about contracting from mosquitoes,” said Patricia Burg, Butler County Health Department director. “We need to make sure that we have other information out there about West Nile and things like ticks that we need to be careful of.”
Staff Writer Will Garbe and Contributing Writer Nancy Bowman contributed to this report.
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