Google announced today that they are launching new initiatives aimed at the Zika virus, including mapping data showing the geographic progression of the mosquito-borne virus.
In a partnership with UNICEF, the search giant is building a mapping tool to track the spread of Zika and identify potential outbreaks, with data gathered from sources including travel and weather patterns. Google also announced a $1 million grant for UNICEF, which will go toward mosquito eradication, vaccine development, and awareness campaigns.
What do you need to know, now?
To date, there have been no locally acquired vector-borne cases in the US (meaning there have been no infections caused by a mosquito bite in this country yet). There have been 153 reported travel-associated Zika virus disease cases. However, as the weather gets warmer and the mosquito population becomes more active, the risks increase. If a mosquito bites an infected person, that mosquito can spread the disease.
What should you do now?
As mentioned in previous blogs, you want to be sure that, on your property at least, you eliminate all standing water regularly. Mosquitoes need water to breed, and not much of it – all it takes is a bottle cap-full. You also want to regularly check for clogged gutters, improperly angled downspouts, leaky outdoor faucets, puddles from air conditioning unit condensation, ill-fitting rain barrels and trash can lids. Fill noticeable knot holes in trees to prevent water from collecting, and trim dense vegetation around your home to eliminate mosquito resting areas.
If you know of people nearby who would have difficulty taking care of the tasks listed – because of health or age – consider offering to help them. You’d be doing a service to your entire community.
The Aedes mosquito is the carrier of the Zika virus (and other diseases including West Nile). This mosquito species is an aggressive, daytime-biter, so you have to be wary at all times. Keep door and window screens in good repair to keep mosquitoes outside.
To feel more secure around your own property, Lawn Doctor’s Yard Armour program treats your property with the combined goals of reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and the use of barrier treatments.
Your local Yard Armour specialist from Lawn Doctor will walk you through all the mosquito treatment options – including natural products – that will work best in your yard, to ensure that you understand the process and how our treatments are effective.
When venturing away from home, the CDC has compiled a list of EPA-approved mosquito repellents here. (For the safe and effective use of pesticide products, always read the product label before using the product).