HomeNewsArticle Display

Hurlburt combats Zika with knowledge

Airman 1st Class Kyle Engle, a public health technician with the 1st Special Operations Medical Group, hangs a mosquito trap in a tree at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Feb. 5, 2016. The mosquito traps will be hung around Hurlburt to catch specimens for later identification in a lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kai White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Engle, a 1st Special Operations Medical Group Public Health technician, hangs a mosquito trap in a tree at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Feb. 5, 2016. The mosquito traps will be hung around Hurlburt Field to catch specimens for later identification in a lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kai White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Engle, a public health technician with the 1st Special Operations Medical Group, hangs a mosquito trap in a tree at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Feb. 5, 2016. The mosquito traps will be hung around Hurlburt to catch specimens for later identification in a lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kai White)

Airman 1st Class Kyle Engle, a 1st Special Operations Medical Group Public Health technician, hangs a mosquito trap in a tree at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Feb. 5, 2016. The mosquito traps will be hung around Hurlburt Field to catch specimens for later identification in a lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Kai White)

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- Following the World Health Organization declaring an international emergency and Florida Gov. Rick Scott calling a state health emergency, Hurlburt Field is taking action to protect Airmen and their families from the Zika virus.

The 1st Special Operations Medical Group began implementing precautions to fight the spread of the Zika virus at Hurlburt Field.

Protection begins with identifying the enemy.

“The first thing we do is capture mosquitos,” said 1st Lt. Claude Betene, chief of public health operations in the medical group. “We then send them to a lab at Wright-Patterson (Air Force Base, Ohio), where they identify the species of mosquito.”

This identification helps give epidemiologists an idea of the potential for the spread of the virus.

In addition to identifying the mosquitos, Hurlburt Field Public Health is making education of the Zika virus a priority. These steps include a pre-deployment briefing on how to protect against infection and a post-deployment screening of members returning from infected countries.

“We prepared a presentation for our deploying Airmen coming through public health, to inform them what Zika virus is and what they can do to protect themselves,” Betene said.

The Zika virus itself has received little attention since its identification in monkeys in Uganda in 1947, according to the WHO’s website. The lack of attention is due in part to the mild symptoms experienced by those exposed to the virus and its isolated influence; however, a potential link to the birth defect microcephaly has been identified, causing the WHO and other national health organizations to take notice.

“The virus’ suspected link to child birth defects is the main concern,” Betene said. “The virus itself is a very mild illness and doesn’t necessarily affect patients.”

Betene advised that women who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, should practice strict mosquito protection and avoid travel to countries affected by the virus. Personal mosquito protection includes wearing long-sleeve shirts, applying mosquito repellent and getting rid of stagnant water around the house.

Following a reported case of Zika being transmitted sexually in Texas, it is advised to wear a condom during sexual activity for at least two weeks after visiting a Zika-affected area.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
.@116ACW #Airmen have established communications for emergency services in Miller County, Ga., following… https://t.co/8mMny2vBR2
RT @BloombergTV: U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is making her case for billions in funding that she says her service will need to…
#ICMYI: The #AtlasV successfully launched @45thSpaceWing carrying the @LockheedMartin #AEHF payload into orbit. War… https://t.co/SwJjApUn1T
It's been a week since #HurricaneMichael hit the #Florida panhandle and @TeamTyndall. Witness how #Airmen from sist… https://t.co/oMLU4NY3Uk
RT @NASA: Hear from @AstroHague as he answers your questions for the first time since his trip to @Space_Station was aborted last Thursday.…
#Airmen & families are entering @TeamTyndall to inspect living facilities & collect their belongings. All other are… https://t.co/Q5DrLeCCSR
RT @TeamTyndall: Chaplains, mental health experts, first sergeants, and other support agencies are preparing to receive Airmen returning to…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: "This is a sad day for the US & Ukraine. Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends & fellow Airmen of both the U…
The #AirForce director of civil engineering praised #Airmen & our joint partners on their collaborative work during… https://t.co/nSQE09xwfZ
RT @LeeHudson_: #USAF officials say all of the #F22 aircraft left during the storm are repairable.
Now this is what #resilience looks like! With the support of #TotalForce #Airmen around the #AirForce,… https://t.co/oiLqSFcH0W
RT @HQUSAFEPA: We are aware of a Ukrainian Su-27UB fighter aircraft that crashed in the Khmelnytskyi region during Clear Sky 2018 today inv…
Phase two of @TeamTyndall recovery efforts has begun. #Airmen & dependents will have limited access to the base to… https://t.co/AVQQZf4RQP
This is the @USAF_ACC Crisis Action Team in action! Hundreds of #Airmen are working 24/7 to get @TeamTyndall the fo… https://t.co/NR2NBOWMAA
RT @TeamTyndall: Crews are working throughout Tyndall to clear roads, safe down powered lines and inspect buildings so Team Tyndall may ret…
Recovery efforts are currently underway at @TeamTyndall. This map will provide real-time information as facility as… https://t.co/E0ohjEOtJE
Visitors from the sky! For the first time in 51 years, @RamsteinAirBase #parajumpers dropped in on Chièvres Air Bas… https://t.co/LCptd76A0a
RT @Oriana0214: TONIGHT FROM MATTIS: "Right now the initial review yesterday by @SecAFOfficial, coming on 48 hours due by Air Combat Comman…