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Another Active Zika Zone

The panic surrounding the Zika virus has reached epidemic proportions. Each minor case cluster elicits a disproportionate response from the CDC and breathless saturation coverage by news outlets. The most recent outbreak was reported by the Miami Herald and involved “at least five people.” This outbreak set in motion another round of mass pesticide spraying.

A phalanx of trucks equipped with pesticide foggers is fast becoming a permanent feature of the south Florida landscape. Lost in the commotion is the fact that health officials have said Zika alone may not be responsible for the rise in birth defects that plague regions of Brazil. Data suggests socio-economic factors may be involved, as 90 percent of Brazil’s microcephaly cases occurred in the country’s poorer northeast.

The grave threat posed by Zika has yet to materialize. Cases still number only in the hundreds, and the link to microcephaly seems ever more tenuous. This has not stopped, or even slowed, the mass spraying of Naled and other poisonous pesticides. Particularly troubling is the use of aerial spraying. The ineffective “spray and pray” approach is based on faulty science and may prove to be almost useless.

There are proactive measures that can reduce your vulnerability to Zika. One common sense measure is to drain standing water where mosquitos breed. You can also plant marigolds as a natural insect repellent. It is easy to make yourself a less attractive target for mosquitos without resorting to toxic repellents. Cinnamon leaf oil, catnip oil and citronella are all more effective than DEET.
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