Nassau officials have begun trapping and collecting mosquitoes at more than three dozen locations across the county as part of an effort to prevent the spread of the Zika virus.
While Zika is carried primarily by a mosquito not found in the state, a related species — the Asian tiger mosquito — is a possible transmitter of the virus and is frequently found in the county during the summer months.
At a news conference Wednesday in Mineola, County Executive Edward Mangano said the Department of Health has begun trapping adult mosquitoes at 42 locations across Nassau.
The Department of Public Works also will treat thousands of street basins, sumps, ponds and hundreds of miles of fresh water streams for mosquitoes while larvicide will sprayed by air in South Shore salt marshes, Mangano said.
The county will distribute thousands of larvicide tablets to residents and business owners to use in locations with permanent standing water, such as flower pots.
Mangano said residents can “to do their part” to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by removing standing water, storing children’s toys indoors and clearing leaves and debris to allow water to flow easily into drainage ditches.
Mangano said Nassau has a “comprehensive mosquito surveillance and control plan to protect our residents from diseases.”
Zika has been transmitted primarily by mosquitoes in South and Central America. The Zika virus in pregnant women has been linked to microcephaly, in which the infant is born with a small head due to an underdeveloped brain.
Nassau has a large population of Central Americans, but county Health Commissioner Lawrence Eisenstein said he “does not think” the Zika virus will be found on Long Island.
“We are going to prepare for that worst case scenario but we have not seen it on the southern part of the United States yet,” said Eisenstein.
The World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern in February