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Zika Surveillance and Community Support Program

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency (BHSJCHA) has applied for and received grant money from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to participate in a Zika Surveillance and Community Support program this summer.  The grant money was made available to MDHHS through the CDC and then passed along to the participating local health departments in Michigan.  The Zika grant has a two main objectives: 1.) Collect and identify mosquitoes from various locations in each county. 2.) Provide education in the local communities about the risks and possible control measures for the Zika virus.

The BHSJCHA has hired 3 college interns (one in each county) to work the program this summer.  Each of our interns have identified 5 locations within their respective counties to set mosquito traps.  The traps are set out 2 times per week and left out for a period of 24 hours.  The traps are then collected and the mosquitoes are all identified and recorded.  There are two species of mosquitoes that are associated with the Zika virus, the Aedes Aegypti and the Aedes Albopictus.  The Aedes Aegypti is not typically found in the northern regions of the U. S., however the Aedes Albopictus has been documented as far north as northern Indiana and northern Ohio.  Although the Aedes Albopictus has not yet been documented in Michigan it is certainly close enough that its migration into southern Michigan is not unlikely.

As part of the Community Support piece of the grant our interns have done a great job of developing printed materials that outline the risks associated with the Zika virus along with prevention protocols associated with the virus.  The interns have also done a number of presentations throughout the communities in an effort to bring awareness to the dangers involved with Zika.  Another component to the community support outreach for the grant involves a mosquito harborage reduction campaign.  We have made an effort to reach out the large agricultural population in our counties with a proposal to replace standard tires (typically used as weights on the tarps over silage piles) with a product called sidewalls.  The sidewalls are simply the sidewall portions of tires.  The sidewalls provide the necessary weight to hold down the tarps but do not contain the reservoirs where water can collect and breed mosquitoes that standard tires do.

To this point in the project we have not identified any of the Zika associated mosquitoes nor have any of the other participating health departments in Michigan.  The grant covers 16 weeks of surveillance which started in early May and will conclude in late August.

 

570 N. Marshall Rd
Coldwater, MI  49036

517-279-9561
20 Care Drive
Hillsdale, MI 49242

517-437-7395
1110 Hill St.
Three Rivers, MI  49093

269-273-2161
 
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