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Cincinnati, NKY health departments set up traps to test mosquitoes for Zika

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 16:32:58-04

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Health Departments set up traps Thursday to test mosquitoes for the Zika virus.

The initiative follows Northern Kentucky’s first case of Zika, confirmed on June 24. Cincinnati’s first case of the virus was announced less than a week later. 

RELATED: Health commissioner announces Cincinnati's first official case of Zika virus

Ten traps were placed near residential areas in Cincinnati. They attract mosquitoes with a dispenser that mimics human sweat and releases a combination of other substances found on skin. The trap is geared toward the Aedes mosquito, a species that is a common carrier of Zika.

Once trapped, the mosquitoes will be taken to the Cincinnati Health Department where they will be frozen, examined and documented.

Brittany Williams, an intern at the Cincinnati Health Department, is excited about the chance to use this new technology. 

"It's amazing that Cincinnati get to be one of the first people to put some out," Williams said. 

The Northern Kentucky Health Department set up eight traps, two each in Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties. The traps were set up in residential and commercial areas. They contain dry ice and lights and are designed to attract mosquitoes during the day and night.

A mosquito can carry the virus if it bites someone who is infected. Zika can also be transmitted sexually. Ohio confirmed its first case of sexually-transmitted Zika last month.

RELATED: First case of sexually-transmitted Zika reported in Ohio

Officials do not believe mosquitoes carrying the virus are in the Greater Cincinnati area, but they do expect to see cases from those who have traveled to areas where the Zika virus is found in mosquitoes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 16 cases of the virus in Ohio and six in Kentucky.

As a precaution, the Cincinnati Health Department recommended that travelers returning to the U.S.  from an area with Zika should try to prevent mosquito bites for up to three weeks even if they do not feel sick.