HUTCHINSON ISLAND, Ga.
With confirmed cases in at least four states, including Georgia–
The Zika virus — and its link to Microcephaly– is frightening.
That’s why health organizations and government agencies are coming together here in Savannah.
They are joining forces to fight Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses.
As the Zika virus continues to spread in Central and South America–concern is spreading, too.
And that’s part of the focus for the American Mosquito Control Association meeting at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.
News 3’s Courtney Cole spoke to the technical director of the organization and he said there’s no need to be afraid, just learn all you can [about the virus] and be prepared.
It’s the virus you’ve been hearing about every time you turn on your TV—Zika.
“This has garnered more attention: from the press, politicians, from other people…”
Joseph Conlon, the Technical Advisor of The American Mosquito Control Association says it’s not only because of the serious threat it poses to pregnant women…but also because…
“…You can have this disease and not even know it and be able to transmit it to others. That makes it especially dangerous…but that’s probably the reason we’re spending so much time on it here.”
Conlon says this meeting is the best way to organize accurate information and get it out to the public.
“They need to be prepared. Our whole mosquito control industry and public health industry is spinning up resources to be prepared for the eventuality that it might reach our shores…and what we want to do is prevent it from establishing itself…and in order to do that we need to garner the resources, have them on hand, be able to identify the virus if it gets here and institute control measures.”
But he also wants people to understand that the public plays just as big of a role in controlling the spread of the virus as government and health agencies.
“The public out there in Chatham County have a role, a significant role to play in the control of this disease should it come. Because they’re the ones that are going to have to remove the containers of water where mosquitoes breed. It’s a matter of mosquito control efforts that will occur with the public and not in spite of the public.”
Experts say it only takes a couple of drops water in a bottle cap [that you’d find on a water or soda bottle] to serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
But, if you follow the “Three D’s” you can be a part of the solution.
- DRAIN: Empty your container that have water in them.
- DRESS: Try to wear clothes with long sleeves (and long bottoms as well) that are lightly colored. The type of mosquito involved with Zika (Aedes Aegypti) tends to be drawn to darker clothing.
- DEFEND: Make sure you’re wearing mosquito repellent that is EPA-registered. Conlon says if it’s EPA-registered, that means there are no health-risks involved in its use and you will 2 – 4 hours of protection against mosquitoes.
The meeting will continue through Thursday, February 11, 2016.