Governor Tom Wolf’s Administration is now preparing a strategy to fight the Zika Virus this summer.
 
Planned measures to curb the virus include mosquito monitoring for every county in the state. 
 
The Governor also announced on Thursday, that Pennsylvania may spray pesticides near homes of people with the virus. 
 
While the risk of contracting the Zika Virus in Pennsylvania remains very low, the Department of Environmental Protection says it will increase as we enter the summer months. 
 
According to a press release from the Governor’s office Thursday, the main goals of the Pennsylvania Zika Virus Response Plan are to:
 
  • Enhance DOH surveillance for Zika cases in Pennsylvanians;
  • Develop a plan that will enable DOH to test for the virus without using CDC laboratories;
  • Enhance DEP vector surveillance and control of the Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti species of mosquitos; and
  • Ensure collaboration between commonwealth agencies and partners to educate pregnant women and the general public about important Zika virus messages.
 
 
Currently, the only confirmed cases of Zika in Pennsylvania are in individuals who contracted the virus while visiting one of the areas where the virus is actively spreading. 
 
At this time, no cases of Zika in Pennsylvania or in the continental U.S. have occurred as a result of locally acquired infections.
 
 
Because there currently is no vaccine or treatment for Zika, the best way to avoid contracting the virus is to prevent mosquito bites by:
 
  • Using an insect repellent containing DEET;
  • Wearing light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers hands, arms, legs, and other exposed skin.
  • Using physical barriers such as screens, closed doors and windows.
 
 
The Aedes types of mosquitos that can potentially transmit the Zika virus bite during the daytime. To control all mosquitos outside your home or business:
 
  • Install or repair and use window and door screens.
  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitos lay eggs near water.
  • Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitos rest – dark, humid areas like under patio furniture or under the carport or garage.
  • Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. -Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
  • If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes with wire mesh that consists of holes smaller than an adult mosquito.