During a recent meeting of the Community Health and Prevention Team, the focus was on activating the surveillance and trapping process for the local mosquito population.
As yet, there have been no official reports of infection with the Zika virus originating in the continental United States. However, enhanced measures now in place address environmental concerns while providing the community with information about the current Zika virus situation and appropriate preventive steps to diminish vulnerability to mosquito bites.
“We are looking at surveillance, mosquito egg (larval) habitat reduction, larval treatment and continuous adult population monitoring,” said Mick Butler, director of the Directorate of Public Works' environmental division. “Past efforts of this nature show we can have a successful program without a major, widespread mosquito pesticide-application program.”
Members of the CHPT discussed effective ways people can protect themselves from becoming victims of mosquito bites.
“The residents are key to any effective prevention with regard to minimizing any potential impact if Zika-carrying mosquitoes are discovered in our area,” said Dr. Anne Burnley, Preventive Health Management leader at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center. “People should strive to avoid mosquito bites in order to avoid any infections through those bites.”
Preventive measures include:
Apply insect repellent containing DEET (look for: N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) to exposed skin outdoors.
Even a short time outside can be long enough to get a mosquito bite.
Apply sunscreen before applying insect repellent.
Cover crib, stroller and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites.
When possible, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or DEET will give extra protection.
Don't apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent containing DEET on the skin under your clothing.
Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child's face.
Be aware of peak mosquito hours.
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak mosquito-biting times. Zika virus capable mosquitoes' peak biting timeframe is during daylight hours. Consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times — or take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
Mosquito-proof your area: Drain standing water.
A team of preventive medicine and pest management professionals at Fort Meade have been trained in the surveillance, trapping, containment and testing of mosquitoes as part of the Installation Management Command's plan to protect and preserve.
“Our team is prepared and focused on preventive measures, but we need everyone's help in eliminating standing water where mosquitos breed.” Butler said. “The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites by applying repellents during mosquito season. We need to know what to do and then do it.”
Preventing Mosquito Bites
When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.
Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See product information to learn how long the protection will last.
If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
Do NOT use permethrin products directly on skin. They are intended to treat clothing.
Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside.
Always follow the product label instructions.
Reapply insect repellent.
Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing.
Use a repellent with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthan-diol.
Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.
For more information, go to cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/ control_ mosquitoes_chikv _denv_zika.pdf.