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 Gateway, 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 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 mosquito-borne diseases.”

The CalSurv Gateway provides centralized storage and analysis of data to monitor 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.

The CalSurv Gateway 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 St. Louis encephalitis viruses. West Nile virus activity was detected in 41 counties in California in 2018 and there were 215 human disease cases reported, of which 153 were the more severe neuroinvasive form. There are no vaccines for West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, or Zika viruses, which are costly to treat and can have long-term health and financial consequences.

“The CalSurv Gateway makes it much easier for California’s mosquito control and public health agencies to manage and analyze mosquito surveillance and control data in order to better protect public health,” said Jeremy Wittie, President of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association of California (MVCAC), who is sponsoring the bill. “Invasive mosquitoes in California are more aggressive and difficult to control compared to other more common species. By serving as a centralized database, the CalSurv Gateway helps mosquito control and public health officials document and track changes in mosquito populations and rates of infection to ensure better prevention outcomes for Californians.”

“The work and monitoring enabled through the CalSurv Gateway 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 this useful tool is an essential component to maintaining public health and the vitality of California’s economy,” stated Assemblymember Quirk.

AB 320 will be eligible to be heard in Committee in March.

 

For additional information on mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases:

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/MosquitoesandMosquitoBorneDiseases.aspx

Travelers should refer to the CDC’s Travel Advisories:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices