New York unveils plan to combat Zika threat

New York: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday announced a three-year plan to combat Zika virus threat in the city. The $21 million plan includes reducing the number of mosquitoes in New York City by doubling and optimising existing mosquito traps, improving the city's testing capacity for the disease, and creating an awareness campaign for people to understand the virus and take appropriate precautions, Xinhua news agency reported. "We take the threat of Zika virus very seriously," de Blasio said on Monday at a press conference held at New York Public Health Laboratory. Currently, 358 patients were confirmed to have contracted the disease in the US of which 40 were reported in New York. However, none of the 40 cases were infected locally, de Blasio noted. The specific species of mosquito that transmits the disease has not been found in the city, the mayor said, but there's a similar species that could potentially spread the virus. The plan will also add 51 new positions to address the needs of the city, including inspectors, exterminators, disease inspectors and lab analysts. As part of the plan, the city launched an awareness campaign dubbed "Fight Back NYC", calling on New Yorkers who are potentially infected with the virus to get tested. The city also urged New Yorkers to remove open containers of standing water and pregnant women to use protection while having sex with a man who spent time in a Zika-affected area.