TTU researchers beginning Zika study that could help the entire - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

TTU researchers beginning Zika study that could help the entire state

Dr. Steve Presley, director of the Biological Threat Research Lab at Texas Tech (source: KCBD video) Dr. Steve Presley, director of the Biological Threat Research Lab at Texas Tech (source: KCBD video)
(source: KCBD video) (source: KCBD video)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Summer means more time spent outdoors, and inevitably, mosquito season.

And research in the fight against Zika virus is ongoing.

In fact, some major research that will help the entire state is happening right here in Lubbock.

Dr. Steve Presley, Director of Texas Tech's Biological Threat Research Lab is heading up this major research project funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Last summer his team studied where the vectors, or the mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus, exist in Texas.

The species are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus

The team identified 48 counties in Texas where the vectors are.

And this summer, the goal is to study the effectiveness of insecticides used in those counties, including right here in Lubbock.

"The recommendations are that mosquito control, public health mosquito control or abatement jurisdictions rotate their pesticides from year to year just to prevent development of a resistance," Dr. Presley said.

In order to test the resistance, Dr. Presley says they have mailed Ovitraps to the participating counties across the state.

"They will put the Ovitraps out, let them collect eggs essentially for four and five days. Then mail back the little paper strip that the mosquitoes lay the eggs on," he said.

Once Dr. Presley's team receives the eggs, researchers will wait for them to become adult mosquitoes.

Then the team will test a variety of insecticides on the mosquitoes.

"Then you put the mosquitoes in, and put the lid on, and monitor them for every 30 minutes or hour to find out how long it takes it for them to be susceptible. At a given time, 48 hours for example, if half of them are dead and half of them are still alive, then we know that there is some resistance. But we'll calculate all that after we get all the work done to get a better idea of, realistically, are they susceptible of are they not susceptible?"

He says they hope to have results by this fall, and his team will then let the counties know if they have effective insecticide.

City of Lubbock Vector Control says it will continue to set out traps, and monitor and treat potential breeding sites if needed.

While vector control says the virus has not been found in our local mosquito population, Dr. Presley says you should be proactive and continue to protect yourself.

"People really need to be aware and avoid mosquito bites. And particularly with these two species, dump standing water in your backyard and artificial containers...I'm a strong believer in deet. It's a very effective mosquito repellant," Dr. Presley said.

Lubbock Vector Control says it does change insecticide every couple of years as recommended, and they started a new cycle in July of 2016.

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