09 October 2016

Beware of mosquito breeding water tanks

29 August 2016

City of Tampa takes step to fight Zika in face of up coming storms

TAMPA, FLA - Mayor Bob Buckhorn said with the anticipated storms there will be a lot of standing water and he's not taking any chances.

The mayor authorized the purchase of 5,000 more mosquito dunks.

  • Over the past few days, crews have already put about 5,000 of them in areas with standing water.

    The tabs have a bacteria that attacks mosquito larvae and last up to 30 days.

    It's also non-toxic to wildlife and humans

    The city spent a couple thousand dollars and the mayor said they are prepared to spend more.

    The money is coming out of the city's budget, not from the $26.2 million authorized by the governor to fight Zika.

    Buckhorn said its money well spent considering Florida now has 43 cases of locally transmitted Zika including one in our backyard over in Pinellas county.

    "We cannot wait for the politicians in Washington DC to react," said Buckhorn. "We have to take our own future in our hands do what we can. Obviously hope that the folks in Washington DC come through with some money for a potential cure. But we're not going to stand around and wait."

    The mayor said if people are interested in getting some of these dunks all you need to do is call code enforcement

    The mayor said someone will be out

    He also encourages people to go to their local hardware stores to purchase them.

2 August 2016

Governor Cuomo Directs Department of Health and MTA to Take Aggressive Action to Prevent Zika Virus in New York City Subway System

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a series of new aggressive initiatives to combat the Zika virus in New York State. At the Governor’s direction, the state Department of Health, in partnership with the MTA, is deploying larvicide tablets to standing water within the subway system to decrease the prevalence of potential breeding grounds for the albopictus mosquito. In addition, the Department of Health will coordinate with all state agencies, including the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation, to ensure all measures possible are being taken to proactively address the situation. The state is also redoubling its efforts to protect New Yorkers from the virus – ramping up distribution of larvicide tablets to homeowners and providing more Zika protection kits to pregnant women at health and family planning centers and WIC programs across the state.

The new initiatives build on the Governor’s previously announced comprehensive six-step plan to combat the Zika virus, including the launch of a statewide public awareness campaign, establishing a new rapid response team and requiring that county health departments submit Zika action plans to the state. New York City and the 57 other counties in New York have all received approval from the Department of Health on local Zika action plans. Additionally, more than 267 traps are monitored throughout New York State and 110,000 mosquitoes have been tested this year – all showing negative results for the virus.

  • “The Zika virus remains a dangerous public health threat, and New York State continues to pursue every possible measure to combat it,” Governor Cuomo said. “By enlisting the cooperation of state agencies and New Yorkers, we are taking aggressive action to help reduce the prevalence of mosquito breeding grounds across the state and stop this disease at its source. As the Zika situation continues to evolve, we will remain vigilant and strengthen our prevention efforts to safeguard the public health and safety of all New Yorkers.”

    As mosquitoes lay eggs in or near water, and their offspring “grow up” in water before emerging as adults that fly and bite, stagnant water serves as potential breeding ground for mosquitoes capable of transmitting the Zika virus. The state is taking aggressive action to apply larvicide tablets to standing water and reduce the risk of potential transmission of the virus.

    As part of the new effort, the state Department of Health, in partnership with the MTA, will target 36 priority locations to eliminate sources of standing water. The primary focus will be to increase drainage within the stations, while also deploying larvicide tablets as needed. Working with the MTA, the Department of Health will also put place new traps to monitor the mosquito population and ensure rigorous testing and reporting of the presence of the albopictus mosquito across the system. Additionally, the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will continue to coordinate with both the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Conservation to aggressively identify and eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds in parks and recreational areas across the state.

    By enlisting the cooperation of state agencies and New Yorkers, we are taking aggressive action to help reduce the prevalence of mosquito breeding grounds across the state and stop this disease at its source.

    Governor Cuomo

    The Zika virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito in South and Central America. The virus can also be sexually transmitted. Although Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are not present in New York, a related species named Aedes albopictus is active in the downstate region. Scientists have not yet determined if Aedes albopictus – the type in New York – transmits Zika. There are 70 different species of mosquito in New York State and Aedes albopictus make up just three to five percent of the total population.

    The greatest danger facing those who contract Zika is a birth defect known as microcephaly. To date, one infant has been born with microcephaly in New York. This disease occurs in babies of mothers who are infected with the Zika virus while pregnant. Zika may also cause a rare disorder called Guillain Barré Syndrome, which can cause temporary paralysis. The World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency of international concern in February. The CDC issued travel advisory on Monday reminding pregnant women to avoid travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission. This now includes the Wynwood section of Miami, Florida, where the number of confirmed cases of local Zika transmission recently rose to 14. There have been no cases of local transmission in New York. To date, there have been 537 confirmed cases of Zika statewide – 532 of which were travel-related and five of which were sexually transmitted. Out of the 537 confirmed cases, 414 have been found in New York City.

    “With six million daily subway customers, the MTA takes public health concerns just as seriously as our operational safety,” Tom Prendergast, MTA Chairman and CEO said. “Some 13 million gallons of water enters the subway system every day, from precipitation, intrusion of ground water and even the water we use to power clean platforms. But the serious threat of virus carrying mosquitos makes it even more important to we have clean, functioning drains, and adequate pump equipment, aggressive inspection and pumping schedules to remove standing water. At Governor Cuomo’s direction, we are stepping up our efforts to clear standing water which could breed virus-carrying mosquitos, and to treat areas that might allow breeding so that our passengers can travel the subway system confident that we taking all necessary preventive steps to protect them.”

    "We all play a role in preventing the Zika virus,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “This latest initiative to proactively address standing water in mass transit locations throughout the city is another example of Governor Cuomo’s Zika prevention plan in action. The State’s aggressive approach, combined with residents’ vigilance in removing standing water from their own properties and protecting themselves from mosquito bites if they travel to places with active Zika transmission, will help us protect New Yorkers, especially pregnant women, from Zika."


    Governor Cuomo’s Six-Point Zika Action Plan

    1. Eliminate Zika at its Source. To eliminate mosquito breeding sites, the state has 100,000 larvicide tablets ready for distribution across the state. More than 16,000 tablets have already been distributed to municipalities and residents. Residents can request a free two-pack of larvicide by calling 1-888-364-4723. One larvicide tablet lasts one month.
    2. Aggressively Monitor the Aedes Mosquito with Special Trapping and Testing. The state is also monitoring the mosquito population by deploying special mosquito traps to collect and test mosquitoes across the region to identify and respond to potential Zika transmission. The state has deployed 250 traps in New York City, across Long Island and the lower Hudson valley since March.
    3. Provide Free Zika Protection Kits to Pregnant Women. Additionally, the state is increasing the distribution of free Zika protection kits to pregnant women at pre-natal centers, family planning centers and WIC programs in the target region. The Zika protection kits contain educational materials, insect repellent, condoms and larvicide tablets to treat standing water. A photo of a Zika protection kit is available here.
    4. Deploy Rapid Response Teams Wherever Local Transmission is Confirmed. The state will deploy rapid response teams wherever a case of Zika transmission by an Aedes mosquito is confirmed. To date, there have been no cases of confirmed transmission by an Aedes mosquito. The rapid response team will be composed of officials from the State Department of Health and the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Emergency Management to inspect surrounding areas, perform additional treatment and develop a local action plan.
    5. Issue Emergency Regulations Requiring Local Zika Control Plans Upon Zika Confirmation. The Commissioner of DOH issued emergency regulations requiring all local health departments to submit Zika action plans with updated protocols for trapping, testing and control. The state Department of Health has approved plans in all 58 counties in New York State.
    6. Launch Statewide Public Awareness Campaign. The state has launched an aggressive public awareness campaign targeting New Yorkers across the state, as well as international travelers from Zika-affected areas. TV and radio PSAs began running throughout the downstate area beginning May 8 and will to run throughout mosquito season. In addition, digital media has launched with banner ads on websites frequently visited by people traveling to affected regions, as well as bus, subway and billboard ads. The campaign also includes a Zika Information Helpline (1-888-364-4723), multi-lingual posters, brochures, fact sheets and a website dedicated to the Zika Virus.

6 April 2016

Jefferson County office giving away free mosquito dunk kits, hoping to curb Zika virus

Summer is coming, which means the mosquitoes are on their way, too.

To keep the mosquito population under control this season, and to hopefully lessen the chances of the Zika virus, Jefferson County Storm Water Management is giving away free mosquito dunk kits.

  • The Zika virus is transmitted through Aedes species mosquitoes, and has been linked to birth defects in pregnant women.

    The kits cover about 100 square feet, but can be broken up into pieces for smaller areas, Lynn DiClemente, the Education and Training Manager for the department, said.

    The most recent two cases were reported in Jefferson and Shelby counties. The state's first Zika case was confirmed Feb. 10 in Morgan County.

    The dunk kits are a "bacteriological way to control the water and prevent larvae from developing into full-grown mosquitoes," she said.

    The kits are effective for 30 days and can be placed in areas where standing water cannot be dumped, like in bird baths, horse troughs, and dog bowls. The kits do not harm any animal or human, she said.

    "This won't obliterate all mosquitoes from your yard, but it will help control the population... getting rid of a few is better than nothing!" she said.

    The department has already given away many kits already this year, because of the looming threat of the Zika virus.

    Three people in Alabama have tested positive for the virus.

    Anyone can pick up a kit from the Storm Water Management office, located in the Jefferson County Courthouse, room B-210, and are open Monday-Friday from 7:30-4:30.

5 Feb 2016

Published by The Straits Times

The Government is embracing drone technology in a big way this year, as the authorities roll out changes that will make it easier for government agencies to obtain drones for their operations and save on manpower.

  • Already, public agencies are testing more than 25 potential uses of drones, it was revealed yesterday.

    These include using drones to survey hard-to-reach potential mosquito-breeding sites to fight dengue, and to carry out construction site surveys using fewer people.

    Now, the Ministry of Transport (MOT), which chairs the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Committee, is set to make drone adoption even simpler for its sister government agencies.

    The ministry will call for a tender at the end of this month to invite drone providers to bid for a master contract for drone services.

    Successful contractors will be tasked with providing drones and technical expertise to agencies which may want to use drones for their operations, MOT said yesterday. Safety and operational standards will be spelt out in the tender.

    By taking the lead on this tender, MOT cuts the red tape for other agencies that may find themselves in need of drones. These agencies can now ride on this master contract and get a drone from the vendor, within days.

    Currently, they have to call for their own tender for drone vendors, which may take weeks.

    "It facilitates and speeds up the whole process so that we can really use and deploy drones in a very effective manner," said Permanent Secretary for Transport Pang Kin Keong, who chairs the committee.

    The committee is also examining how agencies can work together using drones, and cut back on manpower needs.

    Currently, drones are being tested out in construction site inspections. Because these sites are subject to inspection by at least seven public bodies, such as the Building and Construction Authority, Ministry of Manpower and national water agency PUB, work can get disrupted quite frequently if each agency does its own separate inspection.

    To cut down on disruptions and duplication, the committee has started an online platform that allows the agencies to indicate what they want to look out for and inspect.

    Inspectors from one lead agency then go to the site with a drone vendor and capture footage of the area, which takes about two hours. This footage is then uploaded and shared among the agencies, doing away with the need for each one to send its own inspectors and the developer to accommodate multiple inspections.

    "From the developer's perspective as well, it is a huge gain in terms of productivity. One exercise covers all the agencies' requirements - wonderful for the agencies, wonderful for the contractor," said Mr Pang.

4 August 2015

Non-toxic larvicides can aid in dengue fight

“Despite the ease of applying precautionary measures, many still adopt a reactive rather than proactive mindset towards combating dengue, even in their own homes. For instance, it takes no more than 10 minutes to ensure that there is no stagnant water collecting in potential mosquito breeding sites. These include roof gutters, water fountains, flower pot plates and drains.”

  • With the recent article published in The Straits Times on 22nd July 2015, Dengue warning as cases increase, this has raised immediate concern and attention among the public and authorities.

    Letter from Mr V.Balu ‘Work together to stop dengue’ dated on July 31, 2015

    “My two sons and I were recently diagnosed with dengue. Having been through the disease, I do not want more Singaporeans to suffer during this difficult period. Let us work in harmony to eradicate dengue.”

    Letter: Work together to stop dengue.pdf

    Letter from Mr Johnny Wong ‘Non-toxic larvicides can aid in dengue fight’ dated on August 04, 2015

    “Despite the ease of applying precautionary measures, many still adopt a reactive rather than proactive mindset towards combating dengue, even in their own homes. For instance, it takes no more than 10 minutes to ensure that there is no stagnant water collecting in potential mosquito breeding sites. These include roof gutters, water fountains, flower pot plates and drains.”

    Letter: Non-toxic larvicides can aid in dengue fight.pdf

    Letter from Mr Tony Teo, Director, Environmental Public Health Operations, National Environment Agency ‘Fewer cases, but stay vigilant as dengue peak season is here’ dated on August 06, 2015

    “The National Environment Agency (NEA) steps up its inspections and source reduction operations in such clusters. We also work with other stakeholders to check and eliminate potential breeding grounds in public areas and housing estates daily with spraying, fogging, oiling of drains and application of the Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI) larvicide where applicable ("Non-toxic larvicides can aid in dengue fight" by Mr Johnny Wong; Tuesday).”

    Letter: Fewer cases, but stay vigilant as dengue peak season is here.pdf