- Pamela Miller For the AJC
The city of Atlanta has a new $400,000 investment in comprehensive and proactive mosquito prevention strategies to mitigate mosquito-borne illnesses during the 2017 season. In recent years, the increase in mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika, West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever have required local, state and federal entities to take more proactive measures toward mosquito prevention and control.
In November, the state of Georgia requested an additional $800,000 from the $1.1 billion federal Zika bill that was passed by Congress last year and signed by President Obama. The $400,000 allocation for the City of Atlanta exceeds the annual budget for mosquito control and prevention for Fulton County.
“Mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika and West Nile Virus pose serious health risks for the public,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “We only have one chance at prevention, and we must get it right. That’s why we’re moving forward with a new investment of $400,000 in mosquito control and prevention, and taking the steps now to prevent serious public health problems in the coming years.”
The Mayor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness is overseeing the development and implementation of a mosquito control approach that consists of four major components: mosquito surveillance; mosquito site inspections; larvicide treatment as needed; and community outreach. The Office of Emergency Preparedness has identified priority locations where senior and youth programs are hosted and will implement mosquito surveillance programs at those sites.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control, there is no vaccine to prevent Zika, or medicine to eliminate the virus. The CDC recommends the use of products containing active ingredients which are registered with the U.S. EPA for use of repellents. The CDC also advises wearing long sleeves and pants when possible. The Georgia Department of Health recommends property owners to “tip ‘n toss” water after every rainfall to reduce opportunities for mosquitoes to breed.