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Assemblymember Sebastian-Ridley Thomas recently conducted a telephonic town hall to engage members of the community in a discussion on the Zika virus and how to prevent the spread of Zika within the Los Angeles community. Below is an overview of information regarding the Zika virus.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH)

Symptoms – Zika symptoms may include a fever, aches, red rash, and red eyes. Many infected with Zika will not show signs of symptoms.

Impact on pregnant women – Pregnant women can pass the Zika infection to their unborn baby leading to the birth defect, microcephaly, which can cause brain damage, a shrunken head, and vision or hearing problems.

Impact on men – Men that have traveled to a place where there is a Zika outbreak should be mindful that Zika can survive in sperm for up to six months.

Prevention – Avoid traveling to countries where there is a Zika outbreak. Since Zika is primarily spread through mosquito bites, take precautions such as wearing an insect repellent with diethyltoluamide (DEET), wearing long sleeves and pants, staying indoors, and using bed nets.

Sexual transmitted disease prevention – Zika may also be spread through sexual intercourse by someone who is infected. CDC guidelines currently recommend using a condom or abstaining from sexual intercourse for eight weeks following departure from an infected area and without a confirmed diagnosis of the Zika virus and for six months following a confirmed diagnosis or symptoms of the virus.

Prevention by insect repellent – It is recommended to use insect repellent with DEET. When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than two months old.

Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD)

There are many opportunities to reduce mosquito breeding and the risk of Zika infection in our community:

Mosquito migration trends – Zika carrying mosquitos stay close to home and do not travel long distances.

Dispose of pools of water – You can eliminate backyard mosquito breeding sources by dumping pools of water present in recyclables, buckets, plant saucers, toys, and trash. Even a tiny amount of tap water in a bottle cap can become a problem if left standing for too long. Work with your neighbors to get rid of any standing water on the property or common neighborhood areas. It is important that community members work together to eliminate all potential breeding sources from the neighborhood.

Follow the assemblymember’s work in the Capitol on Twitter at @sridleythomas, Facebook at Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, or visit http://asmdc.org/members/ridley-thomas/.