Fort McCoy News July 8, 2016

Fort McCoy officials continue monitoring Zika virus

Fort McCoy officials are keeping watch on the spread of the Zika virus and will enact measures to prevent its spreading as needed, said Wildlife Biologist David Beckmann with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch (NRB).

"The chance for the Zika virus to spread up here is lower than in the southern United States, but the possibility remains that it could happen here," Beckmann said.

"We will continue to monitor how Zika spreads and will take any steps necessary to prevent it. The NRB team is working with the Installation Safety Office and Occupational Health Clinic to spread the word about protecting yourself from mosquito bites and Zika exposure."

The Zika virus mainly is carried and spread by mosquitoes. Beckmann said Fort McCoy has an ongoing program to monitor mosquito-borne disease issues, and that program will continue with an additional focus on the Zika virus.

"We always look at ways to reduce mosquito-breeding areas, such as areas that have standing water," Beckmann said. "It's one of the best preventative measures to reduce risk with mosquitoes."

The West Nile virus also is a disease spread by mosquitoes that has been found in Wisconsin, Beckmann said. "All the more reason to keep yourself protected from mosquito bites," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers the following tips to protect against mosquitoes.

• Wear insect repellent. When used as directed, insect repellent is the best way to protect yourself from mosquito bites — even children and pregnant women should protect themselves. Higher percentages of an active ingredient provide longer lasting protection. These ingredients include DEET; Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin); oil of lemon eucalyptus; and IR3535.

• Cover up. When weather permits, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

• Keep mosquitoes outside. Use air conditioning or window and door screens.

"We encourage the entire Fort McCoy community to take steps in reducing their risk," Beckmann said.

"If you happen to see any standing water like in a can, pot, tire, etc, please tip it over if at all possible. Mosquitos don't need much water to lay eggs.

"Also, if you notice a hole or rip in the screens on your windows, contact the DPW Help Desk at 608-388-4357 to have it repaired."

For more information, call the NRB at 608-388-2252 or the ISO at 608-388-3403.

For more information about Armywide Zika virus prevention efforts, see the related article.