Data Shows Nashville Is Prone To Zika Mosquitoes

Posted: 5:38 PM, Sep 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-02 00:59:07Z

At least one mosquito tested positive for Zika Virus in Florida, officials said on Thursday, after more than a month of testing mosquitoes in the Sunshine State. 

The mosquito sample, taken from the area of Miami Beach, was the first sample of mosquitoes testing positive for Zika Virus in the United States.

In Tennessee, no mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus, but data compiled by the Wall Street Journal showed certain areas of Tennessee, including Nashville, are prone to Zika infected mosquitoes. 

The mosquitoes that carry Zika Virus thrive in warm and humid climates, as well as urban areas. 

The data gathered by the Wall Street Journal also examined areas with a high population density of child-bearing aged women due to Zika causing birth defects, and Davidson County has a high number of child-bearing aged women. 

In the Nashville area, public health officials have been continuing to educate the public about ways to keep the mosquito population at bay.

"Dump out standing water wherever it is around your property," Brian Todd, public information officer for the Metro Public Health Department, said. 

Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said pregnant women or women wanting to become pregnant should be weary of traveling to Zika prone areas, especially Miami, now that a mosquito has tested positive for the virus. 

"Change the Labor Day weekend plans. Stay where there's no Zika at the present time," Schaffner said. 

In Florida, Schaffner said there's a concern that the approaching hurricane could also make things worse, with heavy rains creating pooling water on the ground where mosquitoes can breed while people worry about saving their homes. 

"There's the possibility that you could have a surge in mosquitoes, and if we then have introductions of Zika into those populations, we could potentially have spread to people," Schaffner explained. 

Carto put together an interactive map of the threat of Zika to specific areas of the country, and Davidson County has numerous areas where the threat has been at its highest.