Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orange County Director of Health Services Dr. Chris Hunter hosted a Zika informational session with local commercial business owners to discuss ongoing mosquito control efforts and Zika preparedness in Orange County.
“Providing for the health and safety of our community is one of the fundamental roles of government. In Orange County, we have an extremely skilled team and a robust mosquito control program,” Mayor Jacobs said. “Our team works seamlessly with the Florida Department of Health and our federal partners to do everything possible to proactively combat the spread of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses.”
Dr. Hunter gave an in-depth presentation explaining the Zika virus, how residents and visitors can protect themselves and what local businesses and homeowners can do to help prevent mosquito-borne illnesses.
“Orange County Zika response efforts over the last few months have been very proactive,” Dr. Hunter said. “Through ongoing digital communications and media outreach, we have been able to educate citizens and the media, as well as engage with the community and Orange County staff members.”
Zika is a virus that can be transmitted by two types of mosquitoes prevalent in Florida, the Aedes aegypti (Yellow Fever mosquito) or Aedes albopictus (Asian Tiger mosquito). The mosquitoes are day biters and are drawn to standing water in small containers - not lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.
Orange County’s Mosquito Control field team works proactively to eliminate sources of standing water such as pool tarps, tires, buckets, empty flower pots and other small containers that can collect water. These efforts help eliminate the possible breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
However, residents must be vigilant and do their part as well. To protect yourself, your family and the community from mosquito-borne illnesses, remember to tip, toss and cover:
- Eliminate standing water around your home and businesses and remove containers where mosquitoes multiply.
- Apply insect repellents containing DEET to repel mosquitoes. Consider wearing long sleeves, pants and socks when outdoors.
- Keep doors and windows shut. Cover windows with screens.
Orange County Mosquito Control has a working laboratory where analysts examine, identify and log mosquitoes and larva found within the community. This information helps Orange County identify target areas for treatment and migration trends. Their efforts include removing standing water, which serves as a breeding area, providing research and information to partner agencies, and spraying communities to rid them of mosquitoes. The team has experience monitoring and combating various mosquito–borne illnesses such as the West Nile virus, St. Louis Encephalitis, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, dengue fever and the chikungunya virus.
Earlier in August, Mayor Jacobs joined Congressman John L. Mica for a Zika Roundtable Discussion. The panel of federal, state and local elected officials spoke with community leaders and mosquito control officials about prevention, increasing funding and implementing educational programs for a proactive approach toward combating the Zika Virus.
For more information on Zika, visit Orange County Government’s website, www.ocfl.net/zika. To download digital materials in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Creole, visit Orange County’s Zika Toolbox, http://bit.ly/ZikaOCFL.
To view photos from the Zika information session, visit Mayor Jacobs’ Flickr album.