Health & Wellness

County Officials Take Preventive Steps to Protect Residents from Zika Virus

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Credits: CDC
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Middlesex County is continuing its efforts to prevent the spread of and protect residents from the Zika virus. The County’s Mosquito Extermination Commission is working closely with the Middlesex County Department of Public Safety and Health and its Health Office to educate and protect the public.

Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios said: “Middlesex County officials are committed to protecting the health and safety of all our residents through a variety of existing services, community partnerships and outreach programs. Prevention is a key element to keeping our citizens safe. That is why we began our efforts way back in February, continuously monitored and updated our information and will continue to monitor the situation and take measures to protect and educate our public.”

Freeholder H. James Polos, Chairman of the Public Safety and Health Committee, said: “It is important to educate all who live and work here about this disease so that everyone can take the proper precautions to prevent the transmission of the disease, prevent mosquito bites and prevent mosquito breeding sources.”
 
 
Zika virus is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.  Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus are aggressive daytime biters, but they can also bite at night.  A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth.  Zika can be passed through sexual intercourse from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partner.

Only travel related cases of Zika have been reported in Middlesex County.

The Middlesex County Office of Health Services and the Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission have created community information boards, in both English and Spanish, that will be on display in municipal libraries through the rest of the summer. The boards have been created to promote awareness and provide information about prevention of the disease.
 
The boards, along with other health education material, will be displayed at selected libraries for one week, during regular library hours.



For the week of August 22, boards will be displayed in: 
•East Brunswick
•Old Bridge
•Perth Amboy
•Plainsboro
•South Plainfield

 For the week of August 29, boards will be displayed in: 
•New Brunswick
•Woodbridge
•Dunellen

For the week of September 6, boards will be displayed in:
•Milltown
•Carteret
•Middlesex
•Monroe
•South River

For the week of September 12, boards will be displayed in:
•Sayreville
•Edison
•Spotswood
Piscataway

For week of September 19, boards will be displayed in:
•South Brunswick
•South Amboy
•Metuchen
•Highland Park

Please visit the Middlesex County website at www.middlesexcountynj.gov and search “Zika” for more information.
The website includes fact sheets, posters, information for travelers, information for pregnant women, mosquito bite prevention, reducing standing water and links to other state and federal web sites.
 
This web page will be updated as necessary. Information also will be shared through the County’s social media channels: Facebook (Middlesex County NJ) and Twitter (@ MiddlesexCntyNJ).
 
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes (conjunctivitis). The majority of individuals who get Zika do not develop symptoms. For those who do, symptoms tend to be mild.

There is no vaccine or antiviral medication to treat Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitos is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission Superintendent Dr. Deepak Matadha said: “Zika is a new disease with many unknowns, and the vector (Asian tiger mosquito) that spreads Zika is difficult to control because it breeds in a wide range of man-made containers that hold water for more than seven days. We urge residents to practice good water sanitation on their properties.”
 
Matadha said that once every week, residents should eliminate or manage all sources of standing water to discourage mosquito breeding. To reduce the risk of Zika by mosquito bites wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants; stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside; use EPA registered insect repellents according to the label.
 
“The Commission is working closely with local and state health officials to ensure timely exchange of epidemiological, risk awareness and mosquito control data in our area to optimize vector control efforts. Additionally, we are monitoring Asian tiger mosquito activity in the county using specialized traps and testing these mosquitoes for presence of Zika virus so that we can control them in a timely manner,” Matadha said.
 
Local transmission of Zika virus has been reported in the United States. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with Zika and can spread it to people.  For information on Zika in the United States, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html; and for information on active Zika virus transmission in all countries and territories visit:http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html

The Health Office and the Commission are actively engaging communities through public education events to promote personal protection measures and prevention techniques to reduce or eliminate Asian tiger mosquito breeding sites around neighborhoods. 
 
In addition to the educational boards, the Commission staff will be at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s EARTH Center Open House on Aug. 20; the Woodbridge Library Fair on Aug. 20, Sayreville Day on Sept. 18, Edison Fall Family Spectacular on Sept. 24, Monroe Green Fair on Oct. 8, Jamesburg Fall Festival on Oct. 15 and Woodbridge Mayor’s Health Fair on Oct. 15.
 
If you have a mosquito problem, or if you need additional advice or information, please call the Middlesex County Mosquito Extermination Commission at 732-549-0665.
 

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