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Installing Air Curtains May Protect Against Zika Virus

By Matt Kraus | May 15, 2016
A--mosquito, Photo Credit--Orkin .jpg

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The current Zika virus outbreak, which originated in Brazil and has spread across South America and into North America, is one of the most pressing health issues in the world today. It is primarily spread through mosquito contact, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has already called it a pandemic. As summer approaches, experts and customers alike are on the hunt for preventative solutions.

Concern over the Zika virus has increased interest in heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry air curtains, particularly in commercial fields such as healthcare, hospitality and education. Air curtains are usually installed by HVAC or electrical contractors, and they provide increased comfort, energy savings, and—most importantly in this case—they are impenetrable by flying insects.

Berner International in New Castle, Pa., the leading air curtain manufacturer in the United States, has received questions about how air curtains could be used to keep Zika-carrying mosquitos out of buildings, according to Miranda Berner, marketing manager.

“Air movement is known to be effective at disrupting insect flight,” said Jerome Hogsette, lead scientist at the U.S. Dairy Association’s Mosquito and Fly Research Unit in Gainesville, Fla., in a press release. “By providing direction to air movement to create a barrier, air curtains protect against the intrusion of mosquitoes, flies and other flying insects.”

Typically, pest-control company Orkin in Atlanta will begin mosquito service calls in late May. This year, the calls started coming in early April.

“There’s definitely a heightened interest and experts are concerned that Zika virus could be problematic for North America this year,” said Ron Harrison, director of technical services, Orkin.

The company has a specific service for customers looking to mosquito-proof their buildings, but it also recommends air curtains as an extra layer of protection.

Zika virus causes flu-like symptoms in those affected, but the long-term danger concerns the effect it may have on pregnant women. In many cases, it is able to cause microcephaly. Installing air curtains is just one proactive way to protect building occupants from the mosquitos that may carry this virus.

For more information on Berner International air curtains, visit http://www.berner.com.

About The Author

Matthew Kraus was formerly the director of communications at NECA and senior editor of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR for five years. He can be reached at [email protected].

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