Assemblymember Bill Quirk Introduces Bill to Help Prevent West Nile and Zika Viruses

Friday, February 16, 2018

Establishing a surveillance system and database will help mosquito-borne diseases from spreading

SACRAMENTO – As most of California experiences a drier and warmer than normal February, mosquito experts throughout the state are ramping up for what will most likely be an early and active mosquito season. In response, Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D – Hayward) has introduced legislation that will officially recognize a preventive surveillance system and database, known as CalSurv, which tracks and predicts where disease-spreading mosquitoes might emerge.

“It is critical that California supports the tools that will help us get ahead of potential threats to the public health, including the West Nile and Zika viruses,” said Assemblymember Quirk. “Real-time surveillance and improved statewide communications can help mosquito control agencies prevent the spread of invasive mosquitoes.”

The CalSurv Program provides centralized storage of data collection and analysis for the presence of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases throughout the state. UC Davis, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and local mosquito control agencies work together to provide real-time reporting and visualization of potentially dangerous mosquitoes and mosquito-borne virus activity.

CalSurv is currently housed at UC Davis. AB 2892 will foster further collaboration with CDPH and their Vector-Borne Disease section.

Since 2011, mosquito control professionals in California have been working to slow the spread of two invasive mosquito species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These species are significant public health concerns, as they can transmit tropical viruses such as Zika, dengue, and chikungunya.

At the same time, California continues to combat West Nile and Saint Louis encephalitis viruses. The state reported more than 500 people infected with West Nile virus in 2017, more than a 10% jump from 2016. There are no vaccines for West Nile, Saint Louis encephalitis, or Zika viruses, which are costly to treat and can have long-term health and financial consequences.

“While predicting the level of mosquito activity year to year isn’t an exact science, keeping a close watch on contributing factors such as winter rains, warming temperatures, and mosquito populations can help show mosquito and virus activity trends that can potentially save lives. CalSurv is a critical component in our efforts to protect public health.” said David Heft, President of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC), which is sponsoring the bill.

“The work and monitoring done through CalSurv have been critical in preventing transmission of viruses carried by mosquitoes. Concurrently, mosquito control agencies have spent considerable resources trying to keep them out of their communities in an effort to prevent local transmission in the future. Ensuring continuous management of CalSurv is an important component to maintaining the health of California and vitality of our agricultural industry,” stated Assemblymember Quirk.

AB 2892 will be eligible to be heard in Committee in March.


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