Following the recent discovery of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in North Long Beach, the city’s public health and vector control personnel recently partnered to conduct a community assessment meant to measure residents’ knowledge on mosquitoes—the first of its kind in the country, city officials announced today.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) completed a three-day Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) from July 20-22 on 30 randomly selected census blocks within Long Beach while the Long Beach Vector Control Program conducted a mosquito assessment at each of these blocks, according to a release from the city.
During that time, field teams conducted interviews at 197 households during which they measured residents’ knowledge of mosquito behavior, Zika, and how to protect against mosquito-borne illnesses, officials stated.
“The CASPER is a proactive approach that will help target the City’s mosquito and Zika education efforts moving forward,” said Dr. Anissa Davis, city health officer, in a statement. “In the event of local transmission of Zika in Long Beach, this information will facilitate a more efficient and effective response to prevent the outbreak from spreading.”
About 80 personnel from the DHHS, city’s police and fire departments, the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staff from neighboring health jurisdictions and community volunteers were deployed during the event, officials stated.
Council members Al Austin, Daryl Supernaw, Roberto Uranga and Vice Mayor Rex Richardson also took part by assisting field teams with conducting assessments and encouraging residents to participate in the CASPER.
“We are taking a proactive stance to educate the community about Zika,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “Our health team is working hard to ensure that as a city, we are knowledgeable and fully prepared for any possible transmission in the future.”
In June, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has the potential to carry the Zika virus, was first identified in two distinct areas of Long Beach, officials stated. The mosquitoes in Southern California do not carry Zika virus, but they could possibly become infected in the future.
The DHHS is taking measure to prepare for the possibility of a local Zika transmission. For more information about Zika, click here.