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Gov. Cuomo Kicks Off Zika-Related Education Plan

The state is offering pregnant women a Zika protection kit that includes insect repellent and other items.
The state is offering pregnant women a Zika protection kit that includes insect repellent and other items. Photo Credit: governor.ny.gov

Combating the Zika virus and educating the public about its potential dangers and how to prevent the mosquito from spreading are all part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's statewide campaign that includes a six-step action plan.

The latest step in the governor's plan is an aggressive public awareness campaign to educate New Yorkers about the dangers of the virus.

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito in South and Central America. The virus can also be sexually transmitted. Although Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are not present in New York, a related species named Aedes albopictus is active in the downstate region. Scientists have not yet determined if Aedes albopictus – the type in New York – transmits Zika.

"New York state has put forward the nation's most robust action plan to combat Zika and eliminate this deadly disease at its source," Cuomo said. "This public awareness campaign will ensure New Yorkers understand the threat Zika poses and how we can stop its transmission. By providing New Yorkers with the information they need, we can protect the public health and put an end to Zika once and for all."

The greatest danger facing those who contract Zika is a birth defect known as microcephaly. This disease occurs in babies of mothers who are infected with the Zika virus while pregnant. Zika may also cause a rare disorder called Guillain Barré syndrome, which can cause temporary paralysis.

Some steps residents can take to prevent the spread of the virus include making sure there is no standing water in their yards and gardens; use larvicide tablets for areas that do have standing water; use mosquito/insect repellent spray or lotion, and report any large outbreaks of mosquitoes in the area.

Under the governor's plan, the state will aggressively monitor mosquito population by deploying special mosquito traps and monitoring all areas for any outbreaks for testing, as well as offering Zike protection kits to all pregnant women who recently traveled or live outside the country. To date, more than 7,000 larvicide tablets have been distributed to eliminate mosquitoes potentially carrying the virus.

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