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Top NIH doctor: Zika mosquitoes are ‘very resilient’

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The head of the government’s infectious disease center says health officials are working on a vaccine to combat the Zika virus but face tough challenges controlling the mosquitoes that spread the disease.

{mosads}“We have a problem [in Florida]. We need to keep it contained by good mosquito control. The CDC, our Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have given a travel alert saying that pregnant women should not travel there,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told host John Catsimatidis Sunday on “The Cats Roundtable” radio show.

Fauci said the solution is “control the mosquitoes, and you can stop an outbreak.”

“These are very resilient mosquitoes, though. They breed very voraciously and robustly in standing water,” he said.

“It’s a challenge to control the mosquito populations,” he added. “You don’t have to eradicate all the mosquitoes, you never will, that would be impossible, but you need to control them.

“We’re working on a vaccine here at NIH and elsewhere. We started the first of a phase one trial literally just two days ago and right now, we’re going to take about three or four months to get that done … but as you probably know, vaccines don’t get done in a few months,” he said.

Fauci said a vaccine won’t be ready until 2018 at the earliest.

When asked whether he would let his family travel to Brazil, Fauci said he himself would go there, but he wouldn’t let his daughters travel there if they were pregnant.

“I have three daughters. If they might be pregnant, thinking of getting pregnant, I wouldn’t let them go,” he said.

Health officials in Florida have begun aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes in hopes of halting the spread of Zika in the state.

The spraying campaign will cover 10 miles, including the one square mile area in Miami where 15 people are believed to have acquired the virus from mosquitoes.

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