(McALLEN, TX) Officials with the Hidalgo County Health Department as well as the City of McAllen Health and Code Enforcement Department announced updates in the Zika case investigation in the city of McAllen.
Hidalgo county Health and Human Services in partnership with City of McAllen has been focusing its efforts in completing this investigation and providing environmental support to contain any mosquito borne illness. We are waiting upon the results from the CDC, however at this point in the investigation we cannot rule out that this is a localized Zika case due to the data that was obtained via the investigation. Hidalgo County encourages all residents to take protective measures to prevent Zika or any mosquito borne illness by draining standing water, clearing weedy lots, wearing long sleeves, and using a DEET repellent.
The primary focus of this investigation and the partnership with the City of McAllen has always been about the public health safety, security of our residents. These efforts highlight the need for ongoing collaboration with various cities, county and state partners. However, the most important competent in our preventive efforts is each and every resident in our community.
The City of McAllen recently completed a city-wide spraying for mosquitos. A second spraying is scheduled for the upcoming week, weather permitting. Vector control activities include trapping and testing and code enforcement officers looking for violations that could breed mosquitos, including tall grass and standing water. All recent tests by the City of McAllen show that the aedes aegypti or the aedes albopictus mosquitos, the mosquitos that are known to carry the Zika virus, have not been found in a statistically significant number in the city.
To avoid the spread of Zika, the following prevention methods are recommended:
· Apply EPA-registered mosquito repellent that contains DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Spray exposed skin and clothing with repellent. Be sure to read label instructions on any repellent and use as directed. Dress protectively by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes when you are outside. Drain standing water in your backyard and neighborhood.
· Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Stay indoors to prevent mosquito bites.
· Keep in mind that mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus bite mostly during the daytime so county residents should use precautions throughout the day. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net.
· Use protection during sex especially if your partner traveled to an area with Zika or if you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant. Women and men who are considering starting or expanding their family should talk to their healthcare provider to inform their decisions about timing of pregnancy.
· Remove standing water in cans, bottles, buckets, tires, wheel barrows or any container that can hold water.
· Cover trash cans or containers where water can collect.
To report mosquito concerns or illegal dumping, please call (956) 681-3111.
For more information on Zika, visit www.TexasZika.org or contact Hidalgo County Department of Health and Human Services at (956) 383-6221.
The Hidalgo County Health Department and City of McAllen will update and alert the public and media as necessary and will work closely together, as well as with other municipalities and organizations, to provide the best possible services to the local community.
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