TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today announced that the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory is now prepared to test mosquitoes for the Zika virus. The laboratory, which is run by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, routinely tests for myriad animal diseases; however, Commissioner Putnam’s department recently equipped the laboratory with the tools necessary to test mosquitoes for the Zika virus and trained scientists for this specific testing.
“Florida leads the nation in the number of travel-related cases of Zika, and our climate makes us a hotbed for mosquitoes. Protecting Floridians and visitors from Zika requires widespread coordination and engagement at every level. As we continue to support the Florida Department of Health and local mosquito control programs, we will make every weapon in the arsenal available in this fight,” stated Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
The department is currently working with mosquito control programs to disseminate traps and train on how to prepare and submit mosquito samples for testing.
While the Florida Department of Health is the lead agency in this public health crisis, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is supporting efforts by:
· Regularly communicating with local mosquito control districts to discuss mosquito surveillance and control efforts;
· Providing technical assistance to mosquito control districts and the Department of Health regarding the CDC's arbovirus guidelines; and
· Obtaining and disseminating traps specifically for the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictusmosquitoes and preparing the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory to be able to test mosquito pools for the Zika virus.
For more information regarding Zika, visit the Florida Department of Health’s website here.