Loudoun Board Approves Zika Response Plan; Health Department Encourages Public to Guard against Zika
Zika Virus Response Plan
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Loudoun County ZikaVirus Response Plan Tuesday. In addition, the Board appropriated a contingency fund of $100,000 for mosquito abatement. The fund would be used for targeted mosquito control efforts that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in some circumstances, such as confirmed instances in which mosquitoes in Loudoun County transmitZika virus from an infected person to others within the community.
The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopticus) is the most common cause of mosquito bites in Virginia and is capable of transmitting Zika virus. The county’s Zika Virus Response Plan, which is consistent with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Zika response plan and CDC guidance, includes four risk-based phases:
2. Mosquito Season (May – October);
3. Confirmed Local Transmission in Region Outside Loudoun County or Increased Local Concern; and
4. Widespread Local Transmission in Region or Potential Local Transmission in Loudoun County.
The Zika Response Plan provides Zika-related prevention, response and mitigation actions for the community. These steps include preparedness; public education and outreach, particularly to pregnant women; disease surveillance and testing; and mosquito control activities.
In circumstances where an increased risk of a locally-acquired outbreak is detected, concerted containment and large-scaled mosquito control may be required to minimize mosquito to human contact. The county’s plan includes focused, door-to-door interventions, such as education; removal of mosquito breeding grounds; and the use of larvicide and/or pesticide application around the area deemed at high risk for local disease transmission.
Prevention Steps for All Loudoun Residents
While Loudoun County is prepared to combat Zika virus, there are simple steps that each of us can take to protect ourselves and our families.
• Prevent Mosquito Bites
Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to cover exposed skin and use EPA-registered insect repellent according to the product label. Because the Asian tiger mosquito is mainly a daytime biter, it is important to wear repellent during the day and night. Also, make sure windows have screens and doors are closed to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
• Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Sites Around Your Home
Asian tiger mosquitoes reproduce in standing water and usually do not fly long distances. Reducing breeding sites around your home will help to control mosquito populations near you. Follow these steps:
- · Replace or dump out water at least weekly in bird baths, pet bowls, and other water features.
- · Dispose of containers that can capture water, such as drink containers, tires, toys, tarps, etc.
- · Look for sources of standing water, such as potted plants, roof gutters, air conditioners, corrugated drain pipes, etc.
- · If standing water cannot be removed, consider treating the water with larvicides, which prevent mosquitoes from developing and are available at home improvement stores.
Symptoms of Zika and Pregnant Women
The most common symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes) and last about a week. Most people who are infected do not know they have Zika and do not seek medical care.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends special precautions for pregnant women because Zika virus is a cause of a birth defect called microcephaly. Pregnant women should not travel to areas in the world whereZika virus is spreading, take steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes, and consult with their doctors for more information on the risks associated withZika.
The Loudoun County Zika Response Plan and more information about Zikavirus prevention are posted at www.loudoun.gov/zika. People with questions about Zika may contact the Loudoun County Health Department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.