Hurricane Matthew, a destructive hurricane that traveled from the Caribbean to the United States impacting Florida and the Carolinas, has been recently buzzing in the news. As the hurricane receded, it has left standing bodies of water in Florida, a state that is most impacted by Zika. Damages in infrastructure have allowed mosquitoes to surreptitiously breed in areas such as broken poles, damaged gutters, etc. Although the hurricane itself may have temporarily decreased the mosquito population, those that survive will be able to take advantage of excellent breeding conditions. This theory is postulated because the number of West Nile cases doubled after the 2008 hurricane impacting Louisiana. Additionally, one must consider that human behavior and priorities change after a natural disaster. People impacted about the hurricane care more about opening the door inside a house with broken AC, fixing pipelines, and retrieving lost items, more than wearing insect repellent, wearing long sleeves, and avoiding standing bodies of water.
The hurricane has also impeded with mosquito control efforts that were already implemented in South Florida. As a first step to recovering after the hurricane, Florida Governor Rick Scott has asked residents to immediately address and eliminate standing bodies of water. However, addressing mosquito control measures for Zika do not currently remain as an important priority on the Florida Political Agenda.
Check out the article here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article107108352.html
~Michelle Bach (Humans and Viruses 2016-2017)