Kalamazoo County Gears-Up Against The Zika Virus
Kalamazoo County health officials announced details of the current mosquito surveillance program for this summer. In order to detect any evidence of potential carriers of the Zika virus, traps are being placed throughout the county, and with the aid of Michigan State University, carriers of the EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) virus will also be identified. The program will continue through September. Last year, vast areas of Kalamazoo and Calhoun counties were sprayed from the air to fight mosquitos carrying the Zika virus.
Matt Johnson, Operations Coordinator of the Health & Community Services Department, offered ways that residents can help prevent mosquito-borne diseases:
- Empty and wash all outdoor containers that collect water (small pools, feeding bowls, open rain collection barrels, buckets, birdbaths, etc.) at least once a week.
- Keep swimming pools properly treated to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.
- Keep trash containers properly covered.
- Use and repair screens on your home windows.
- Wear tall socks, pants and long sleeves when outdoors, especially from dusk to dawn.
- Use insect repellent with DEET and registered by the EPA on skin and treat clothing with permethrin to repel biting insects. Always follow label directions.
Authorities say Southern Michigan is in the migration pattern of the Aedes albopictus mosquito (Asian Tiger Mosquito), a mosquito that can carry the ZIKA virus. Though the mosquito is not currently known to be present in Kalamazoo County, the Environmental Health Division is working closely with the Mosquito Surveillance program at the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Department (MDHHS).
Information about mosquito and tick surveillance can be found at kalcounty.com/hcs/eh.