While Zika virus is not common in Texas, it serves as a reminder that many mosquito-borne diseases can affect the health and safety of Texas’ students, faculty, and staff. As such, it is important to be ever-vigilant when it comes to vector-borne diseases, which are diseases or illnesses typically transmitted by biting insects or ticks.
A strong school-based health and safety program must include an integrated pest management system as well as individual and school-wide infection control measures. The program should also include methods to contain, manage, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
As part of a proactive program that routinely follows good public health practices, schools and communities must take universal precautions to reduce or eliminate student and staff exposure to mosquitos, insects, and rodents. Districts should monitor conditions that can lead to the breeding of pests (e.g., mosquitos), including garbage accumulation, overgrown vegetation, and stagnant water. The district should also provide support for the control of mosquito populations around campuses and facilities through both integrated pest management techniques and encouraging students and staff to report areas where water collects or mosquitos breed.
The district must also outline vector control strategies in its Public Health and Medical functional annex, an important support component to multi-hazard emergency operations plans. This annex should highlight integrated pest management (IPM) solutions that include thresholds to determine when corrective control measures are needed. For more information on vector-borne illnesses and vector control visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For information on Emergency Management and School Security or for assistance with your Public Health and Medical Plan, contact Melanie Moss at 512.505.2868.