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Stock up on that bug spray, Atlanta! The metropolis is No. 1 on Orkin’s list of Top 50 Mosquito Cities for the fourth year in a row, followed by Washington and Chicago.
It’s a serious issue as mosquito season ramps up again with the warmer weather and with it, fears of more cases of Zika. The virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes. Most people won’t have symptoms, but Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.
Orkin’s list ranks metro areas by the number of mosquito customers the pest control company served from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.
Here are the cities in the top 15:
- Washington, D.C.
- New York
- Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
- Dallas-Ft. Worth
- Charlotte, N.C.
- Tampa-St. Petersburg
- Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne
- Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News
Some 21 metro areas in the Southeast are included in the list — the most of any U.S. region.
More than 5,200 cases of Zika have been reported in the U.S. since 2015, 224 of them likely through local mosquito-borne transmission in Florida and Texas.
There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika, so the best way to protect yourself is to prevent mosquito bites, the CDC notes. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and control mosquitoes around your home by removing standing water and using window and door screens.