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Zika expert weighs in on his latest study, avoiding mosquito habitats

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Zika virus has been a worldwide issue lately and since its summer time, there's going to be various mosquitoes flying around.

USM Professor, Dr. Donald Yee is working with the Mississippi Health Department to learn more about the Zika virus and the Yellow fever (Aedes aegypti) mosquito. Both Yee and his students have been conducting several projects lately.

Yee said "so what my students are doing as part of this project is we're going around the state looking for places where they may be small water containers like cemeteries and surveying those to see what larva are there, what species are there, and if we're finding Aedes aegypti."

Yee said all 3,000 species of mosquitoes need water in order to breed.

USM student, Doressa Williams said, "It feels very rewarding just to be able to play a part in a project that makes people feel safer in Mississippi and let them know that there's nothing to worry about."

USM student, Adam Miller said, "We've learned a lot. I've sampled the lower 23rd counties of Mississippi. I've been able to drive over and see many different mosquito species."

But for the people who don't want to be near mosquitoes, especially near their home, there's a few things they can do.

"First, they can eliminate any kind of standing water. So replace the water in bird baths, kiddie pools frequently, get rid of things that might contain water. The second thing you want to do is reduce potential exposure. So don't go out during the day when these animals might be biting. The other thing you can do is to reduce places where the adults might hang out. So reducing lawn grass and weeds," said Yee.

To increase the chance of not getting bit from a mosquito, Yee said people should wear protective clothing that covers the skin or to simply use mosquito repellent.



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