We've all heard of Zika virus. It's one of the most talked-about items in the news this year. Most people know it affects pregnant women and that there's a link between Zika and encephalitis in newborns. But what do we actually know about it beyond these basics?
One of the most important pieces of information about Zika is that it's spread by mosquitoes, like dengue and so many other diseases (as someone who once received over a hundred mosquito bites in one night, I jump at any opportunity to vilify those little monsters). But we can't just get rid of mosquitoes. What can we do to help, then?
You can build an ovillanta. An ovillanta is an incredibly simple innovation borne of car tires. Basically, the ovillanta is two halves of a tire overlaid to create a small opening. The tire gives off the illusion of a breeding ground for mosquitoes by using their pheromones to lure them inside. Once they lay their eggs inside, it's easy for anyone to destroy them en masse. It sounds pretty easy and straightforward, right? And according to researchers, it's actually one of the most effective traps there is. In one area that began to utilize ovillantas, dengue cases actually dropped. Partially, it's because the mosquitoes that spread Zika already often use old tires to nest.
The ovillanta is key in the fight against Zika because it's relatively simple to make -- you can find car tires pretty much anywhere, even in the regions most affected by Zika where high-tech resources aren't readily available. Plus, it's a pretty solid way of recycling car tires that would otherwise just lay around unused.
If you'd like to see what an ovillanta looks like and how to make one yourself, check out the how-to video here.