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Slumbering Virus to Awaken Again, Experts Say

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If the virus is detected, its spread can also be controlled through the spraying of pesticides, said Steve Johnson, a deputy director at the EPA. Although no pesticide is 100% safe, there are some such as resmethrin, sumethrin, and permethrin that can be used safely under controlled circumstances to kill adult mosquitoes, he said.

During the winter, added Barbara Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the CDC, more than $2.7 million was distributed to local health departments along the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico to assist in planning and implementing programs to control the spread. This assistance included the distribution of laboratory tests for the virus, Ostroff tells WebMD.

But despite these efforts and improved coordination between federal, state, and local health agencies, people should keep up their vigilance, Ostroff says. "We have no way of knowing how the virus will evolve," he tells WebMD.

Individuals can participate in the prevention effort by eliminating sources of stagnant water on their property. People also can protect themselves by applying insect repellant before going outside at dawn, dusk, and during the evening, the CDC says.

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