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

Thursday, January 31, 2019

SACRAMENTO –Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D – Hayward) has introduced legislation that will officially recognize a preventive surveillance system and database known as CalSurv, which tracks disease-spreading mosquitoes – where they are, where they’ve been, where they may be heading, and where new diseases might be emerging.

“Making sure we understand and get ahead of potential threats, like the West Nile and Zika viruses, is critical in protecting public health,” 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 320 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), who 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 320 will be eligible to be heard in Committee in March.


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