Last Updated: 08/19/2016 – 14:49:00
SITUATION REPORT – Level : Monitoring
Good Afternoon All:
Below is some information regarding the status of Zika, and some steps you can take to protect yourself…
With all the news being reported about the Zika virus in the state, I wanted to take a moment and update everyone on what’s happening both statewide, and locally.
As you’ll remember on February 3, Governor Scott directed the State Surgeon General to issue a Declaration of Public Health Emergency for the counties with residents that had travel-associated cases of Zika. Hillsborough County was included in the declaration. At that time, and for the past several months, the focus has been on identifying travel-related cases in our communities, as well as educating our community on how to protect ourselves from the virus and prevent mosquitoes from breeding. That was until July 28th, when the announcement was made that Florida was now investigating four cases of Zika that were possibly locally acquired in Miami-Dade County. As of this week, that number had grown to 28, with cases being reported in two counties (Miami-Dade and Broward).
All Zika cases reported in Hillsborough County are travel-related.
Hillsborough County Mosquito Control continues to implement an aggressive and proactive approach to mosquito surveillance and control. The County remains vigilant in its monitoring of mosquito populations.
The proper protocols and plans are in place – and have been for months – to address the Zika virus and take action should a locally-acquired case appear in Hillsborough County.
Hillsborough County has been working with our state, city and health partners in our community to initiate local actions which include:
- The Hillsborough County Health Department has established a local Incident Command Team to manage how we will respond to the Zika virus should we have a locally-acquired case, as well as manage current daily operations.
- Public Works’ Mosquito Control Unit and Health Department Epidemiology staff are working together to target areas where we have individuals who are suspected of having or have tested positive for the Zika Virus.
- Communication with residents and personnel in our county and incorporated cities to ensure everyone has the most up-to-date information regarding the Zika virus in Florida and the actions currently in use to stop the spread of the virus in our communities.
- The Health Department has been communicating with local health partners to ensure they have the most current clinical guidance possible for the testing and treatment of those infected with the Zika virus.
- Providing educational marketing materials throughout the county, including a campaign specifically occurring in Hillsborough County Public Schools.
- Should we have a locally-acquired case, the Health Department will be conducting a door-to-door outreach campaign in those areas to minimize further transmission of the disease. They will be working directly with the State and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make every effort to ensure the disease does not take hold here.
- Epidemiology staff has begun door-to-door Zika outreach training for staff that will canvas neighborhoods should we have a local transmission.
Recently, August 4th the Governor made Zika testing available to all pregnant women in the state through local health departments.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
At work, home, or traveling, preventing mosquito bites is the best way to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses. Mosquitoes can be found in many different environments, and you may not always notice when you have been bitten. Mosquito activity in Florida can be year round, and the mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus are day time biters that can breed in as little as a bottle cap of water.
- To reduce mosquitoes at your house or business: put away items that are outside and not being used because they could hold standing water.
- Around all buildings: empty, turn over or cover anything that could hold water: tires, buckets, toys, pools & pool covers, birdbaths, trash containers and recycling bins, boat or car covers, roof gutters, coolers, and pet dishes.
- Prevent your swimming pool from becoming a breeding ground. Cover your swimming pool when not in use and maintain proper pool chemistry. Make sure the cover doesn’t sag and hold pools of rainwater, which can also provide a breeding ground.
- Check for low lying areas that hold water for more than a week, and clear clogged gutters and drains that cause water to pool.
- In your garden: keep flower pots and saucers free of standing water. Some plants, such as bromeliads, hold water in their leaves—flush out water-holding plants with your hose once a week.
- Fill holes that hold water in the trunk or branches of a tree with water-resistant expanding foam.
- Treat standing water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered, dumped, or removed with larvicides, such as mosquito dunks or granules. Larvicides work by killing young mosquitoes in water before they can grow into biting adults. When used according to product label instructions, larvicides do not harm people, pets, or the environment.
- Reduce daytime hiding places for adult mosquitoes by keeping grass and weeds trimmed, eliminating outdoor brush piles, and removing excess vegetation from small ponds.
- Keep mosquitoes outside by keeping doors and windows shut, use air conditioning, and repair holes in screens or doors.
- Check indoor plant saucers for standing water and clean flower and plant vases weekly to prevent breeding mosquitoes inside.
The Florida Department of Health and CDC recommend protecting yourself from mosquito bites by using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents and covering your skin by wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors:
- Keep insect repellents ready to use at home and in your car.
- Always follow the product’s instructions.
- Apply repellent on exposed skin, not under clothing.
- Repellent is applied after sunscreen.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents on children and babies.
o Teach your children to wear insect repellent when they are outdoors.
o Don’t use repellent on babies younger than two months.
o Spray the repellent on your hands and then apply to your child’s face. Avoid their eyes, nose, mouth and hands, and avoid cuts or irritated skin.
o Dress babies and toddlers in clothing that covers arms and legs, and cover strollers, cribs or baby carriers with mosquito netting.
Residents should contact their health care provider or the local Health Department if they are worried that they might have been exposed to Zika or any mosquito-borne illness.
For more information on Zika virus, Florida residents and visitors can call (855) 622-6735.