How will city keep up with virus-borne diseases in pandemic?

How will city keep up with virus-borne diseases in pandemic
Posted at 6:51 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 20:09:18-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As the weather gets warmer and mosquito season rolls back around, many people are concerned about the possible spread of infectious diseases like the Zika and West Nile virus all during this unsettling time of the coronavirus,

Most of Texas has a long mosquito season, and the humidity here in South Texas only increases mosquito activity and the likelihood of infectious diseases spreading through mosquito bites.

One thing we do know is that COVID-19 can’t be spread through mosquito bites.

But what if a person contracts a virus like Zika or West Nile in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic?

Nueces County Health Department officials say the resources that are being used to care for and treat patients with COVID-19 wouldn’t necessarily suffer. Instead, the health department as well as hospitals would simply “adapt."

“We just would reassign somebody and say you really need to take care of this one right now and have 2-3 people giving reports up to me to make sure that we’re doing the right protocols," said Annette Rodriguez, the health director of the Corpus Christi Nueces County Public Health District

Most people who contract West Nile or Zika don’t need to be hospitalized. And only one in every 150 people infected will develop a serious neurological illness.

Joel Skidmore with the city’s Vector Control and Prevention Unit says during the spring they evaluate how and what parts of the city they need to treat for mosquitoes.

“We haven’t really done any spraying yet we’re monitoring the weather," Skidmore said. "It really depends on how much rain we get."

Then the three full-time Vector control officers will target those areas.

“To make sure they use more adulticide and larvicide to get rid of that mosquito population that they can,” Skidmore said.

If any disease-carrying mosquitoes are believed to be found, Vector Control sends samples to the state for testing and usually receives results within two days.

Skidmore says even through the coronavirus pandemic, the mosquito population and weather conditions are being closely monitored by his department.

Aside from standing water, tall grass is a popular breeding area for many species of mosquitoes, so it is recommended you keep your grass and vegetation trimmed. As of March of 2017 there have been no human cases of zika in Nueces County.