After Local Officials Express Concern, Health Dept. Explains Anti-Zika Steps
Northern Kentucky Health Department director Dr. Lynne Saddler issued the following information after a confirmed case of Zika virus was found in someone from Alexandria, and after preventive steps near that person's home upset city officials.
The Northern Kentucky Health Department is working diligently to prevent the spread of the Zika virus and protect the health of all Northern Kentuckians, but especially those who are most vulnerable to the complications of Zika—pregnant women and their babies.
Since Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, steps to control mosquitoes are a crucial aspect of Zika prevention.
We understand that many people are concerned about one measure to control mosquitoes—targeted application of insecticide by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture; however, this is an important public health precaution.
SEE PREVIOUSLY: Possible spraying after Zika case upsets Alexandria officials
A person with Zika can spread the virus to local mosquitoes if he/she is bitten while contagious. Those mosquitoes can then infect another individual. Several measures can be implemented to help prevent local transmission from an infected individual. This includes:
- Educating infected individuals about steps they can take to prevent mosquito bites, such as staying indoors, wearing long sleeves/pants and using an EPA-approved insect repellent.
- When necessary, applying mosquito spray in a targeted area to control the mosquito population.
The use of spraying for mosquito control in Northern Kentucky is based on protocols established by the Kentucky Department for Public Health. Decisions to spray a particular area are made jointly by the Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Northern Kentucky Health Department.
The Department of Agriculture has assured us that the product used, Duet, meets stringent standards and is registered for use by the Environmental Protection Agency. When properly used by trained professionals, insecticides do their job and biodegrade quickly. Such products are considered safe to use around people or pets. Spraying is done at night as an additional safeguard.
Many other areas of Kentucky regularly spray for mosquitoes. Lexington and Louisville have had mosquito spraying for more than a decade, initially to help prevent a variety of mosquito-borne diseases.
All Northern Kentuckians can help with Zika prevention by taking steps to control the mosquito population.
- Whenever possible, remove potential causes of standing water. This could include clogged storm drains, catch basins, drainage ways, junk/debris, tire dumps, etc.
- Reduce mosquito resting sites near areas where people may gather by keeping grass mowed and free of discarded garbage such as plastic cups, bottle lids, etc.
From the Northern Kentucky Health Department
Photo: Dr. Lynne Saddler