- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida agriculture officials are distributing mosquito traps to areas that lack surveillance for the species that carries the Zika virus.

Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Thursday that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services held workshops in seven counties over the last two weeks for mosquito control and health officials.

Department spokeswoman Jenn Meale says the state has purchased over 300 traps that target two mosquito species that carry the virus linked to birth defects.

Mosquito control efforts vary statewide, so the traps can help municipalities that previously lacked those resources. Meale says mosquitoes caught in the traps will be tested for Zika, dengue and chikungunya in a state laboratory where monitoring for animal viruses now includes those diseases.

The traps add to existing mosquito-borne illness surveillance by Florida’s health department.

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