In an effort to combat the spread of the Zika virus, Franklin County Public Health officials presented an information session at Bexley City Hall.

In an effort to combat the spread of the Zika virus, Franklin County Public Health officials presented an information session at Bexley City Hall.

Zika is spread among humans mostly by being bitten by an infected Aedes species mosquitoes, which are aggressive daytime biters, said Debbie Wright, director of nursing and assistant commissioner at Franklin County Public Health, at the June 16 presentation.

"The mosquito would be feeding on someone who's infected with the Zika virus and then bite someone who doesn't have the virus, and that's how it's transmitted," she said.

To date, there have been 691 reported cases of the Zika virus in the United States, 14 in Ohio and only one in Franklin County, Wright said.

Symptoms last anywhere from a couple of days up to a full week and can include skin rashes, flu-like symptoms such as a headache or fever, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

"Some people don't show any symptoms at all," Wright said.

Zika virus infection during pregnancy may be linked to birth defects, Wright said.

"We really are trying to encourage women who are pregnant or (who) plan to get pregnant not to do any traveling to areas that have Zika," she said. "If they do go, to protect themselves as much as possible, which is staying inside, wearing long sleeves and long pants, wearing mosquito repellent."

Other ways that residents can prevent transmission of the Zika virus include emptying, turning over or getting rid of anything that can hold standing water such as buckets, toys, tarps and wading pools; filling holes with sand or dirt; clearing clogged rain gutters, repairing screens and outdoor leaky faucets; getting rid of old tires and drilling holes in the bottom of tire swings; and treating rain barrels for mosquitoes and sealing the barrel openings.

"We've got to continue to educate people to get rid of standing water everywhere -- low bowls, cups, it doesn't matter," said Charles Broschart, Community Environmental Health Division manager for Franklin County Public Health.

The county health department has also undertaken several measures to kill mosquitoes and their larvae to prevent disease, including spraying for and the trapping of mosquitoes, Broschart said.

"We still do spraying, based on decision-making we get from our trap data and our West Nile virus testing," he said. "We do special event sprays, things like the Fourth of July, the fireworks."

The county health department is also making efforts to raise public awareness about how to prevent the spread of Zika, said Mitzi Kline, the agency's communication director.

"We're stepping up our efforts. We're paying very close attention to what's going on nationally," she said. "We're going to keep you informed of what we know."