A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

State Agriculture Department, local officials take steps to address floodwater mosquito infestation

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is working with local officials in western Kentucky to combat an outbreak of floodwater mosquitoes in the Land Between the Lakes area. “We chose to take a proactive approach to stop these floodwater mosquitoes from becoming a major public nuisance,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “The local governments in the area want to get ahead of...

State Public Health Department urges homeowners to mosquito proof yards, reduce Zika virus threat

As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health campaign, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is calling on homeowners to help control mosquitoes by eliminating standing water from containers that can collect rainwater where insects breed. “Everyone needs to do their part to help reduce the mosquito population,” said Hiram Polk Jr.,...

Spring Breaker travelers warned to take precautions against Zika virus — protect yourself and others

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, advises spring break travelers to be cautious and take steps to prevent mosquito bites and unprotected sexual contact if traveling to areas of the globe where the Zika virus has been identified. DPH also is urging pregnant women to avoid traveling to areas with active Zika virus transmission.   Information...

ZIKA travel advisory: State Dept. of Public Health reminds pregnant women to avoid risky destinations

As mosquito season comes to an end and the holiday and winter travel season begins, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, urges pregnant women, those who might be pregnant and their sex partners to avoid traveling to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission. “With the Christmas holiday coming, travel to Zika-affected areas is expected...

Rural Blog: After-effect of Hurricane Matthew could be creation of perfect breeding ground for Zika virus

One after-effect of Hurricane Matthew could be perfect breeding grounds for the Zika virus, Franco Ordoñez reports for McClatchy Newspapers. From Florida to the Carolinas “high winds broke through screen doors and windows, knocked out power and left behind small and large bodies of standing water that could serve as new breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Scientists raised concerns that the Zika...

Bill Straub: McConnell’s effort to put Senate back to work doesn’t include passing clean Zika bill

WASHINGTON – During the waning days of the summer congressional recess, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell could be found doing what he does best – humbly congratulating himself for fixing the “once-broken’’ upper chamber and taking all the credit he could possibly toss in his own direction for seeing to it that the body “is really back to work.’’ Under his venerated leadership,...

Keven Moore: Zika virus and the workplace — some precautionary measures to stay safe

The Zika virus has been in the news and making headlines for several months now, as we recently have seen multiple athletes withdraw from the 2016 Olympics in Rio. For just the fourth time in history, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declareda “public health emergency of international concern.” The Zika virus joins the list of the H1N1 pandemic (2009), the spread of polio (2014) and the...

Entomologist says state not likely to have Zika outbreak, but spraying around homes continues

An entomologist from the University of Kentucky encourages Kentuckians to stay calm about the Zika virus because Kentucky does not have many of the mosquitoes known to transmit the disease, and therefore is not likely to have an outbreak. “Keep calm, don’t overreact and enjoy what’s left of summer. Zika is not likely to cause a mosquito-borne outbreak in Kentucky in 2016,” Grayson C....

McConnell continues to blame Democrats for lack of Zika funding, leaves out ‘poison pills’

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News As the Zika virus spreads in Florida, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to press his argument that Senate Democrats are responsible for the lack of funding to fight it. But as with most political arguments, the latest column he sent Kentucky newspapers left out some details. Senate Democrats did block a bill with $1.1 billion in Zika funding, saying Republicans...

Travel-related Zika infection identified in Fayette County; mother, baby post no risk to spread

The first instance of laboratory-confirmed infection with Zika virus in Lexington was recently identified in a Fayette County infant born to a woman who had travelled during pregnancy to an area where the virus is circulating. Test results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the infant was exposed to the virus in the womb. Although the infant’s mother never described...

Public health officials caution pregnant women to avoid traveling to Zika-affected areas

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is warning Kentuckians, particularly pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant, to avoid traveling to areas of the world with active Zika virus transmission. The virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. “We strongly warn everyone – especially pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant – avoid traveling...

Congress enters summer recess without funding Zika fight; McConnell and Reid trade barbs of blame

Congress left Washington for a summer recess without providing any more money to fight the spread of the Zika virus that causes birth defects. “In what has become a familiar ritual, Democrats and Republicans pointed the finger at each other over who is to blame. It’s a gamble by leaders in both parties that voters will hold the other side accountable for gridlock come November,” report...

Congress goes home for July 4 holiday after reaching yet another impasse on Zika virus

Congress took a break for the July 4 holiday after reaching another impasse on funding to combat the Zika virus that has caused birth defects in Mexico and the Caribbean. “Senate Democrats on Tuesday shot down a House-passed bill that would have provided $1.1 billion to fight the mosquito-borne virus, citing opposition to the measure’s changes in pesticide regulations and restrictions on...

Public Health, Fish & Wildlife, State Park officials join to combat Zika virus

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is working with Kentucky Fish & Wildlife and State Parks to inform residents about the risks of exposure to the Zika virus through mosquito bites and how to stay safe in the outdoors throughout the spring and summer season. “It is important that everyone act to protect yourself and your loved ones this summer from mosquito bites and potential illnesses...

Northern Kentucky Health Department confirms first Zika virus case; residents urged to take precautions

With the first case of Zika virus in Northern Kentucky recently confirmed in a Boone County man, the Northern Kentucky Health Department is urging residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. The infected individual has a history of travel to an area where Zika virus has been found, and was diagnosed upon his return. A total of 820 cases of Zika virus have been reported in U.S....

Commentary: Fight the mosquito bite to protect yourself against Zika virus at home and away

By Lynne Saddler Special to KyForward We tend to think of mosquitoes as simply a pest—an annoyance during an evening out on the patio or an unwelcome guest on a hike or camping trip. But mosquitoes can also transmit disease. At the Northern Kentucky Health Department, we’ve been closely monitoring the global spread of the Zika virus, which is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The...

UK entomologists develop website to keep public up to date on Zika virus information

University of Kentucky entomologists recently developed a website that will have the most up-to-date information on the Zika virus and its spread, as mosquito populations around the state begin to build. The website can be found here. “Mosquitoes are beginning to appear in the state now, and their populations will peak during the mid- to late summer,” said Lee Townsend, extension entomologist...

Health and Family Services Cabinet launches campaign to respond to Zika virus in Kentucky

Health and Family Services Cabinet Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, and representatives from the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) and University of Kentucky gathered at the Kentucky State University Research Farm Monday for a Zika prevention event. Launching its “Fight the Bite Day and Night” campaign, participants discussed...

Many rural areas are not prepared for possible regional arrival of Zika virus

Rural areas along the Gulf Coast are ill-prepared for the Zika virus, which could arrive in the region within the next few weeks, “carried here by travelers and spread by local mosquitoes,” Liz Szabo reports for USA Today. “The Gulf Coast’s steamy climate, abundant mosquitoes and international airports create an environment ripe for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has...

State, national health officials say potential exists for Kentucky to have Zika virus outbreak

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News While all 388 Zika virus cases confirmed in the continental U.S., including six in Kentucky, have been in people who were infected abroad and then returned to the states, a health official said on “Fox News Sunday” that it is likely the U.S. will have its own outbreak. “It is likely we will have what is called a local outbreak,” said Dr....