In an effort to help protect Anne Arundel County residents from Zika, West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, County Executive Steve Schuh announced an agreement with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) that will allow the county to increase the number of communities in the mosquito spraying program and provide more resources for property larviciding and standing water inspections.
No Zika transmission has been identified in Maryland at this time; however, Zika virus has been detected in Maryland residents who traveled to locations where there is ongoing Zika transmission.
“As Zika disease becomes more widespread through national and international travel, Anne Arundel County has been innovative in finding more resources to support our community-based mosquito control efforts,” said Schuh.
The County’s agreement with the Department of Agriculture will allow MDA to use five County-owned trucks –- three as fogger spray trucks and two for larviciding –- to enhance mosquito control operations in the county.
“This initiative will allow the county to decrease the number of communities on the mosquito spray wait list,” said Schuh. “It will also increase the workforce needed to efficiently conduct more larviciding, which is the most effective way to prevent mosquito eggs from developing into adult mosquitoes.”
“The most important thing a homeowner can do to prevent the spread of Zika virus is to reduce the number of mosquitoes in an area by eliminating outdoor containers and other potential breeding sites on a property,” said County Health Officer Dr. Jinlene Chan. “When outdoors, protect yourself by wearing long pants and long-sleeved clothing, and use an EPA-registered insect repellent.”
Since April 2016, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health and MDA have joined together to promote awareness and prevention of Zika disease, which can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and cause serious birth defects. The agencies partnered to present a town hall Zika awareness meeting this spring and provided informational materials about Zika disease and mosquito control that were distributed to residents countywide, including at doctors’ offices, community fairs and public libraries. Teams have also gone door-to-door in neighborhoods with heavy mosquito populations to educate residents about mosquito control measures.
For information about Zika disease and its prevention, visit aahealth.org/zika.
For more information about community mosquito control, including spraying, call MDA at 410-841-5870. For complaints about standing water in residential swimming pools and ponds, call the Department of Health at 410-222-7192.