The Llano County Office of Emergency Management has the following suggestions for each municipality within the county in order to meet certain legal obligations and to give the citizens sound information about the real public health threats regarding Zika, West Nile and other mosquito transmitted diseases. Living in the age of the 24/7 news cycle it is incumbent upon all public officials to disseminate accurate and timely information so that our citizens can be informed of what the situation actually is, what their government is doing and how they can best protect themselves during such times. By offering this information we can get ahead of the “scare” tactics often utilized by the media at large and provide fact based and medically sound advice during times of public health concerns.
The most important thing about Zika is that there are currently NO LOCALLY CONTRACTED Zika cases in Texas. All Zika cases known in the state at this time were acquired from either travel to infected areas (Brazil, Caribbean islands etc.) or through sexual transmission. The first locally acquired U.S. cases, now in Miami, are very much localized and were predicted months ago based on population and travel preferences. It will still be awhile before we start to see Zika being transmitted locally within the State.
Zika has been around for many decades and has a very low mortality rate. Of those who contract the virus 80% will remain asymptomatic. Like most public health threats the most at risk are the very young, the very old and those with compromised immune systems. The risks to pregnant women are well known and more information on that is available on the above mentioned website. The mosquito that spreads the Zika virus is the same one that also spreads certain other viruses which actually present a public health concern locally. So, while the threat of contracting Zika from a mosquito bite in Central Texas is negligible right now, other viruses like West Nile, Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow Fever remain a more active and real threat. What is effective at fighting the Zika virus will also be effective for combating these other actual threats.
1) Attached is a document from OSHA regarding protecting workers from Zika. This might be distributed to people as a “Best Practices” document.
2) Large scale spraying is NOT an effective or recommended preventative measure. The habits of this particular mosquito render spraying pesticides ineffective. In fact such spraying can actually kill many other insects (bees, moths etc.) especially dragon flies which are natural predators to the mosquito.
The Llano County OEM is working closely with the DSHS and our local public health representatives to stay on top and ahead of the Zika concern. We hope this information will help you each to better inform your citizens and provide some reprieve from the sensationalism being proffered by the media at this time. You can find a wealth of up to date information at the States website www.texaszika.org.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions please let me know.
Thank you, Ron Anderson
Ron Anderson Asst. Emergency Management Coordinator
Llano County Office of Emergency Management
Office (325) 247-2039
Fax (325) 247-3785
Cell (512) 589-3343