L.A. County Zika Preparedness: Public Health Agencies to Train Cities, Community Leaders before Summer Brings More Mosquitoes, Viral Threats

While agencies prepare, public should do its part to reduce disease risks and mosquito issues

April 17, 2017

LOS ANGELES – Before summer arrives, community leaders and elected officials will gain an upper hand against the Zika threat and the mosquitoes that can transmit the virus.

Vector control districts and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) will host a Keep Zika Out! workshop for community leaders on April 20, 2017 in the city of South El Monte.

Participants will learn about available resources and will encourage residents to do their part in reducing mosquito breeding sources around the home.

“For more than a year, local vector control districts have been collaborating with other public health agencies,” said Kelly Middleton, director of community affairs at Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

Public health officials welcome collaboration and resource-sharing to provide a more efficient response in case of a Zika outbreak. A major producer of insect repellent has donated more than 120 cases of repellent for distribution to those in need. “We’re grateful for this donation,” said Levy Sun, public information officer at Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.  “Using EPA-registered products that have been tested for safety and efficacy is an important part of the actions that individuals need to take to help reduce exposure to diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.”

While cities and organizations prepare for a public health emergency, public health officials urge residents to take preventative action now. The following safety precautions are recommended to all residents to reduce disease risk and prevent mosquitoes from ruining outdoor activities.

  • Take 10 minutes, once a week, to Tip and Toss standing water out of all containers around the property.
  • If spending time outdoors, residents should use insect repellent containing the following EPA-registered active ingredients: DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD), Picaridin, or IR3535. Always apply according to label instructions.
  • Traveling soon? Avoid mosquito bites and be vigilant about mosquito bites for several weeks after returning home. Travelers should bring home souvenirs and photos, not Zika virus. Travelers can learn more by visiting CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/plan-for-travel.html
  • Make sure windows, doors and rain barrels have tight-fitting screens to keep mosquitoes out. Replace or repair screens that have tears or holes.
  • Contact your local vector control district if there is a significant mosquito problem or potential mosquito breeding source where you live or work.

Whether it’s Zika or West Nile virus, preventing mosquito breeding and bites are the keys to preventing a mosquito-transmitted disease.