Jacksonville leaders fight to stay ahead of Zika

City Council considering ordinances related to Zika prevention

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mosquito season is underway and the governor says Florida needs to stay ahead of the Zika virus.

City leaders in Jacksonville are introducing legislation geared specifically toward protecting people from the disease.

One ordinance introduced to the City Council this week focused on tires, and another one has been discussed, involving screen doors.

The tire ordinance would require businesses who sell tires to store them inside a building and make sure they're not visible from the street. When it rains, water can get stuck inside the inner part of a tire, giving mosquitoes aa place to lay eggs.

The second ordinance hasn't been proposed, but could include language stating that apartment houses, group homes, and other buildings where many people live must have a self-closing screen doors leading to the outside if they don’t already have working central air conditioning. If there is working AC, then a screen door wouldn't be required.

City Council President Lori Boyer said that when it gets hot and there's no AC, some people leave their front doors open and mosquitoes can get inside. Boyer said not only would having a screen door help fight Zika, there's something in it for the tenants.

"It's also an opportunity. If the night is cool enough, you may choose to leave the door open and if you're in a safe location, you can leave your primary door open, let the screen door provide ventilation and save on your electric bill, too," Boyer said.

According to the Florida Department of Health, there have already been 30 cases of Zika so far this year. Most are in south Florida, but there was one case in St. Johns and another in Flagler.

Among the simple things that can be done to protect from mosquitoes are using bug spray, wearing long sleeves, if possible, and getting rid of standing water around a home or business.

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