Pest control company receiving calls, concerns about Zika Virus

Posted at 7:24 PM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 19:24:58-04

WEST MICHIGAN -- Zika Virus may cause "fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis" in those who contract it or no symptoms at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts say it's particularly detrimental to pregnant women and their unborn children.

Even though it's more of a problem in South and Central America at this point, a local pest control company said it's been receiving calls from mothers wanting to ensure they have a healthy baby.

Friday afternoon, The Mosquito Squad of West Michigan tried ridding a Zeeland property of the pesky little bug by spraying environment-friendly larvicide into a creek, thus preventing eggs from hatching.

“The volume of phone calls have already increased probably, I would say, by 30 percent," company owner Jack Denuyl said.

As the weather warms up, he said callers are concerned about the bloodsuckers spreading disease.

Denuyl said about two weeks ago “we had a little burst of a lot of curiosity of Zika. Especially of mothers that are pregnant, or young moms that are thinking about being pregnant.”

"It's not something in the states that's really critical to this point," Denuyl said.

In fact, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said only two-travel related cases have been reported in Michigan. Public Information Officer Kristina ​Wieghmink with the Ottawa County Health Department said the office stays informed about Zika through the state and the Centers for Disease Control. Experts say only two species of mosquitoes currently carry the virus.

“However, these mosquitoes are not in the state of Michigan. So we are a low-risk area. But what we’re doing is we’re urging people who are either pregnant, can become pregnant, and traveling to areas where Zika is transmitted to take precaution," Wieghmink said.

If you travel to an area affected by Zika or are just concerned, Wieghmink suggests you use an EPA approved insect repellant. DHHS said men who travel to Zika-affected areas should also use a condom when having sex for the following six months. If you're looking to get pregnant but traveled to an affected area, avoid pregnancy for two months. Denuyl suggests properties owners get rid of standing water in their yards to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching.