Md. Gov. Larry Hogan Authorizes $250,000 to Promote Zika Preven - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Md. Gov. Larry Hogan Authorizes $250,000 to Promote Zika Prevention

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Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement Friday afternoon at the State House (Photo: Larry Hogan/Facebook) Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement Friday afternoon at the State House (Photo: Larry Hogan/Facebook)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced thousands of dollars in funding to help budget the continuation of the state's Zika prevention efforts.

The Republican governor made the announcement Friday at the State House, saying $250,000 have been authorized from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene budget. On April 21, the governor issued a statewide proclamation declaring April 24-30 as Maryland Zika Awareness Week as part of an effort to increase awareness of the virus.

“Our administration's first and main priority is keeping Marylanders safe, and we want our citizens to know that all levels of government are working together to respond to threats to public health," said Governor Hogan. "Our state is taking every precaution when it comes to Zika - we are taking this issue seriously - and we will continue to coordinate all available resources in the months ahead.”

The virus is spread chiefly by Aedes mosquitoes, though sexual contact has been documented as a way of transmission. As of Friday, Maryland has experienced 12 confirmed cases of Zika infection – all have involved travel to areas where the virus is being actively transmitted – Carribean, South America and Central America – and sexual transmission.  There has been no local transmission from Maryland mosquitoes, according to the CDC.

“Since early this year, our department has been working to raise awareness about Zika throughout the state,” said Health and Mental Hygiene’s Public Health Deputy Secretary Dr. Howard Haft. “The virus has been linked to birth defects, and we are working to prevent those by publicizing ways Marylanders can minimize risks for contracting or spreading Zika.”

Mosquito Control, operated by the Department of Agriculture, will be a crucial component of Maryland’s response. Aedes mosquitoes lay their eggs in containers of standing water around homes, rather than in wetland areas. The disease has not been transmitted locally in Maryland by mosquitoes, however, that may change as the Aedes mosquitoes become active in warmer weather, usually around the beginning of May. If a mosquito takes a blood meal from a recent traveler who has the Zika virus circulating in his or her blood, the mosquito can become infected and transmit the virus when it takes another blood meal.

In the coming weeks and months, Hogan said the state will continue to work in a coordinated effort with officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Mental Hygiene, Transportation and other agencies to raise Zika prevention awareness among Maryland residents and travelers.
 

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