In support of the Department of Health’s (DOH) efforts to control the spread of Zika in the US Virgin Islands (USVI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved a DOH request to increase vector control efforts in the territory. The DOH will now conduct a comprehensive mosquito vector control program in both districts (St. Croix & St. Thomas/St. John), to include public areas. Expanded mosquito control services for the general public will include inspection and treatment of all hospitals, clinics, schools, churches, and daycare centers requesting service in the territory. Mosquito control will also be directed to public places with a history of related mosquito-borne diseases, such as Dengue and Chikungunya. Mosquito control teams will inspect and treat any public site, including empty lots, abandoned swimming pools, or construction sites that may be posing a mosquito problem. The public is encouraged to assist in these efforts by reporting suspected locations to the DOH Zika Emergency Operations Center (ECO) at (340) 712-6205.
DOH Commissioner, Dr. Michelle S. Davis stated, “The Virgin Islands is in the midst of a significant outbreak and we are doing everything possible to get to the root of the issue, by reduce the mosquito population and transmission of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika in the Territory. The CDC award is very timely, and will assist the DOH in implementing its comprehensive Zika prevention plan-including education, outreach communication and surveillance.”
The CDC has contracted Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) to conduct mosquito control activities in the USVI. VDCI has partnered with DOH to provide vector control services, for the community, since March 2016. Under the new 1-year contract, mosquito control efforts will be expanded for the public. Control efforts will include locating and emptying any containers that hold water and may produce mosquitoes. Non-potable water containers, which cannot be emptied of water, will be treated using a safe and natural biological larvicide that kills immature mosquito larvae that develop in the water. VDCI is also in the process of hiring and training up to a dozen local residents. Individuals interested in applying should call VDCI directly, at 340-626-1668.
The public can also help control mosquito populations around their homes and neighborhoods by emptying, scrubbing, turning over, covering or throwing out containers that hold water such as flowerpot saucers and buckets, ensuring cisterns and water barrels are covered with lids or wire mesh with holes smaller than adult mosquitoes, in addition to installing or repairing window and door screens. The public is also advised to help prevent mosquito bites by wearing protective clothing (long sleeves and pants) and to use EPA registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or
Residents with questions or concerns about Zika should call the DOH’s Zika Emergency Operations Center at 340-712-6205. For more general information about Zika call toll free: 1-800-CDC-INFO. ###