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Army Conducts Mosquito Surveillance to Monitor for Zika Virus

HealthThe U.S. Army has begun to monitor mosquitoes at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to check for mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika virus.

The service branch said Monday APG houses seven test sites for health officials to collect mosquitoes once a week, classify females based on species and ship the insects to Public Health Command-Atlantic at Fort Meade for pathogen tests.

Maritzabel Gonzalez, deputy chief of preventive medicine at the Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic, said the surveillance involves efforts to identify breeding sites as well as the capture, identification and tests of adult mosquitoes for pathogens.

Surveillance officials use a light trap from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a second developed by a private company that uses nontoxic substances found on human skin to lure mosquitoes that can carry Zika and other viruses, Gonzalez said.

She added the environmental health team will recommend pest control measures when more than 20 mosquitoes per trap have been collected.

The mosquito surveillance program is part of the Defense Department‘s Integrated Pest Management program and the military’s strategy to control Zika-transmitting mosquitoes in military installations, the Army noted.

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