The Zika Task Force in the Town of Palm Beach met this week at the Civic Association Community Room and progress is being made on public education and the treatment of mosquito breeding areas in town.
Maggie Zeidman, Town Council member, provided the latest updates on the virus, Jay Boodheshwar, Deputy Town Manager, presented status on the Zika Virus Response Plan, and Wendy Victor described a fund she has set up to help Zika researchers at the University of Washington with their ground-breaking discovery about how the virus is causing brain damage to the unborn.
Maggie Zeidman, Town Council Member
See the Meeting Minutes below:
Zika Task Force Minutes
September 19, 2016
Jay Boodheshwar, Deputy Town Manager
Jerry Pearlman via phone
Margaret Ziedman, Palm Beach Town Council
Ned Barnes, President, Civic Association
Mike Brown, Communication Director, Civic Association
The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by Mr. Ned Barnes.
Mrs. Zeidman provided a Zika update for the overall disease and in Florida. She provided information from and referred the task force to these websites: CDC [https://www.cdc.gov/zika/] and StatNews [https://www.statnews.com/series/zika-update/]
- The CDC lifted its travel advisory urging pregnant women to avoid the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. Governor Rick Scott there for the announcement
- US senators have resolved a key issue that has stalled federal Zika funding, money that would go from Planned Parenthood to partner clinics in Puerto Rico, as Congress moved closer toward a budget agreement
- Florida reported seven new cases of locally acquired Zika cases — six in Miami-Dade County, one in Palm Beach County. Governor Scott also tripled the Zika infection zone in Miami Beach.
- Number of Zika infected pregnant women in the US is currently at 731.
- Dr. David Dotson, tropical and infectious disease specialist presented to the Town Council last week and said , “The virus is here. The vector is here. And the conditions for spread are there. There’s no reason to expect we won’t be talking about millions of cases in the United States as time goes on.”
- The CDC has spent $660 million on Zika so far and is almost out of money.
- The group brought up a concern about the Naled insecticide that is reportedly harmful to humans and insects like bees.
Mrs. Zeidman and Mrs. Victor reported on important research happening in Seattle at the University of Washington. Mrs. Victor's daughter-in-law, Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf leads a team of 32 scientists at the Center of Innate Immunity and Immune Disease - at the forefront of Zika research. Last week the researchers reported in the Journal Nature Medicine that they studied the first case of Zika-caused brain damage in the fetus of a nonhuman primate: a single pigtail macaque.
It’s a key step toward understanding the impact of the mostly mosquito-borne virus that’s spreading in more than 50 countries causing severe birth defects and other problems. The study proves that Zika causes fetal brain injury. They are looking for other outcomes with this research that may impact humans.
Dr. Adams Waldorf is an obstetrician who has studied infections in pregnancy for 15 years.
Mrs. Victor said the researchers need donations to continue their work and a fund with a $300,000 goal has been set up.
Mr. Jay Boodheshwar gave an update from Town government:
- The Town is not only doing education about Zika but they are taking proactive steps to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Town is spending $7,200 on time release tablets Natular XRT that is a larvicide that will be placed in the 765 storm water catch basins in town in October. The tablets sink to the bottom so they won’t be washed away and they kill the mosquito larva that host’s the Zika virus.
- Mr. Boodheshwar presented the Town Response Plan to the task force:
- Updated Town Website
- Developed preventive treatment plan for minimizing breeding.
- Issued Zika text alerts town-wide.
- Developed a contingency spraying plan to augment or replace the County responsibility for spraying. Contract is being prepared in case it is needed. This plan doesn’t include the Naled insecticide. The plan uses Duet, a dual-action mosquito adulticide that would be sprayed at night only if a mosquito outbreak is confirmed.
- Provide repellants at outdoor public facilities for purchase at cost.
Planned and In-Progress
- Informational tri-fold brochure for mailing town-wide
- Informational poster
- Letter from the mayor to be mailed town-wide
- Educating Town field employees on how to identify mosquito breeding conditions (public and private property) and developed a reporting process.
- Community organizations send informational materials via email to their mailing lists.
- All Town property inspections for breeding conditions. – In progress
- Develop reporting process for public to communicate potential breeding conditions. The task force recommended setting up a Zika Hotline phone number to call.
- Reach out to schools. Mrs. Goodman is checking with the Palm Beach County School Board.
- Coordinate and host 2nd educational forum in the Fall, sponsored by the Civic and Citizens Associations.
The Task Force discussed other options for getting the word out and educating the public. One suggestion was to piggyback on the Florida Department of Health campaign called “Spill the Water” [http://www.floridahealth.gov/%5C%5C/diseases-and-conditions/spill-the-water/index.html]
The Task Force adjourned at 11:20 a.m.