Each summer, as the temperatures rise within the US, so do mosquito populations, increasing the risk of contracting blood-borne diseases. Monitoring the transmission and spread of viruses, such as West Nile and Zika, can provide public health officials with vital information to help manage the virus outbreak.
This summer, health officials have confirmed that both the Zika virus and the West Nile virus are present in the US. In fact, the first sexually transmitted case of Zika has been confirmed in Pinellas County, Florida. A locally transmitted case of Zika was also confirmed in late July in Hidalgo County, Texas, by a resident who had not traveled outside the US or even outside the state. In July alone, North Dakota and Mississippi confirmed cases of the West Nile virus, one of which resulted in a death. The CDC confirms that 33 states’ mosquito samples have tested positive for the presence of West Nile.
How are we combating these staggering statistics?
Manage the Bugs
New methods to control mosquito populations are constantly being tried. According to Newsweek, Verily, a start-up owned by Google, began releasing a million specially engineered male mosquitoes in Fresno, California with the hopes of stalling the mating processes. The lab engineered bugs carry a bacterium that stops successful mating, so that the mosquito populations can die out.
Monitor the Outbreak
State and local health departments can keep a close watch on the viruses by leveraging disease surveillance technologies. Maven, Conduent Public Health Solutions’ Case Management System, excels in tracking and managing outbreaks by taking a patient centric approach. Through monitoring each patient and the spread of the disease, officials can better understand ways to create meaningful change in the fight against these viruses.
Maven’s modular design offers state and local health departments’ flexibility to change as the viruses or needs of the state change. With contract tracing, network mapping, robust reporting, GIS mapping functionalities, and more, Maven is fully equipped to support state and local health departments in creating a comprehensive overview of a virus and its changes over time.