Mosquito Forum Update: More Than 3 Dozen Attendees Heard From Experts Fighting Mosquitoes in North Texas
Jun 20, 2016 04:21PM
● By Melanie Heisinger
Photo courtesy Angel Biasatti, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.
More than three dozen attendees heard firsthand from the men and women fighting mosquitoes in North Texas. At a forum in Methodist Mansfield Medical Center's cafe last Tuesday evening, the hospital teamed up with the Tarrant County Public Health, City of Mansfield, Municipal Mosquito, and Mansfield ISD to give the latest information on the ongoing mosquito season and the illnesses that could affect the community.
Russ Jones, MPH, chief epidemiologist for Tarrant County Public Health, said the aedes aegypti mosquito is now in North Texas, but no samples have shown Zika virus. He believes south Texas and south Florida will be the first ares in the United States to see cases originate there. So far, none of the Zika cases in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties have originated here. The city of Mansfield has been testing samples of adult mosquitoes and Environmental Services Manager Howard Redfearn says he has seen more in the past week, but no ground spraying has begun. Mosquito experts suggest residents remove all standing water from bird baths, empty tires, children's toys, boats, and hot tubs so as not to give the mosquitoes water to breed in. If there are pools of water, they urge using the mosquito dunks or donuts regularly to kill the larvae.
Zika still poses the greatest risk to pregnant women because of its confirmed link to birth defects. "There's really no safe time during pregnancy to contract Zika because we still don't know at what stage it can affect a growing fetus," says Sara Northrop, DO, OB-GYN on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield. "We also recommend any woman trying to conceive to avoid traveling to a Zika-infected region for the two months prior."
Zika virus, West Nile, Chikungunya and other mosquito-borne illnesses are top of mind for environmental and health officials in North Texas. They believe it's not a matter of "if" but "when" the viruses appear, so public education and vigilance is key.
About Methodist Health System
Guided by the founding principles of life, learning, and compassion, Dallas-based Methodist Health System (Methodist) provides quality, integrated health care to improve and save the lives of individuals and families throughout North Texas. Seven hospitals and 27 Methodist Family Health Centers and Medical Groups are among the facilities served by the nonprofit Methodist Health System, which is affiliated by covenant with the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the fastest-growing health systems in America, Methodist continues to add facilities and services to enhance patient care along the entire continuum.