Remember when mosquitoes were nothing more than a nuisance? Now, with the advent of the Zika virus, mosquitoes pose a major health threat, so Monday, the Portsmouth City Health Department and the Scioto County General Health District announced they have received Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mosquito Control Grants. The county received around $40,000 and the city – $25,000.
“As far as the city health department goes, it will be to develop a mosquito surveillance program that will cover Portsmouth and Sciotoville,” Andy Gedeon, director of environmental services for the city health department, said. “We’ll set traps – monitor what type of mosquitoes we have and then go from there.”
Gedeon said the city would also use mosquito dunks for larvicide treatment for abandoned pools. Mosquito dunks, are mosquito control products that look like wafers. It is the only product with BTI, a bacteria toxic only to mosquito larvae, that lasts 30 days and treats 100 square feet of surface water.
“That takes care of any larvicide in these abandoned pools,” Gedeon said. “We’re having a lot of issues with homeowners who just simply leave their pools abandoned,” Gedeon said. “They collect the water and that’s an ideal place for mosquitoes to breed. We’ll also develop educational materials to hand out to residents.”
Brent Rollins, registered sanitarian with the Scioto County Health Department, said that department is cooperating with several county agencies to control mosquito-borne disease.
“We will be working closely with the Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Management District to clean up open dumping sites in the county to limit mosquito breeding sites,” Rollins said. “The grant funding will be made available to help with spraying in the more populated ares of the county.”
The city also purchased a mosquito fogger and a backpack sprayer to treat some of the areas also.
“We are pleased to receive this grant. To the best of my knowledge, Portsmouth and Sciotoville have not had a mosquito surveillance program for quite some time,” Gedeon said. “While the city has been proactive by spraying annually, this grant will help us further those efforts by developing a mosquito surveillance program that will allow us to verify what species are located in the city and determine where those mosquito hot spots are.”
Gedeon said they will not only be monitoring for the aedes egypti mosquito that carries the zika virus, but they will be monitoring for the other mosquito species as well.
The Scioto County Health Department also plans to hire an intern with the funding to promote mosquito education to the public. The intern will also be responsible for running the county’s mosquito surveillance program. King’s Daughters Medical Center will be partnering with them to promote mosquito education and supply the public with mosquito wipes and other repellents.
“We are grateful and excited to have received the funding and plan to put it to good use,” Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Aaron Adams said.
- Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease because they won’t have symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
- See your doctor or other healthcare provider if you are pregnant and develop a fever, rash, joint pain, or red eyes within 2 weeks after traveling to a place where Zika has been reported. Be sure to tell your doctor or other healthcare provider where you traveled.
- The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
- People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
- Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week but it can be found longer in some people.
- Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.