Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: What Can be Done to Prevent Zika Spread on Maui?

August 21, 2016, 5:22 PM HST
* Updated August 22, 8:18 AM
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Zika confirmed on Maui. Maui Now image.

Zika confirmed on Maui. Maui Now image.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], call 270-7855 or send them by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Aloha Mayor,

Q: I’ve been reading about the positive cases of Zika brought in from people who traveled abroad, and am hoping that the disease doesn’t start to spread locally.

My family doesn’t seem to take this seriously yet, because it hasn’t impacted us personally. But I know from reading some articles that for women and their babies, this can be a devastating disease.

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In a nutshell, how can I explain to my family how to avoid getting Zika without sounding paranoid?

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A: You raise a great question, because many folks don’t really pay attention to this kind of issue until it affects them directly—and by then it could be too late.

Plain and simple, the very best way to avoid getting Zika, dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid getting bitten. That may sound obvious, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to use protective clothing, repellent and to keep mosquitoes out of the house and yard.

The county and the state Department of Health’s Maui District Health Office are working together to educate the public about the importance of taking these preventive measures to keep mosquitoes at bay and to avoid getting bitten.

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You might need to do a walk-around the house and yard to check for hidden breeding grounds, like drain pipes, bromeliads and other water-retaining plants, old tires and other receptacles for standing water—but it will be well worth the effort.

Mosquito-borne diseases are not going to go away, in fact they will probably increase as time goes by, so now is the time for everyone to learn how to protect themselves and help prevent the spread of these diseases.

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