Area leaders partner to increase Zika awareness in the community

Zika continues to be a topic of conversation for public health officials in Birmingham, so UAB, Birmingham and Jefferson County have partnered to increase awareness.

zika stream 2The University of Alabama at Birmingham Office of Public Health Practice has partnered with the City of Birmingham and the Jefferson County Department of Health to increase awareness of the Zika virus, its dangers and prevention methods, reaching more than 2,500 residents throughout the Greater Birmingham area.

In the past three months, the three organizations brought awareness through town hall presentations and phone calls, as well as by distributing informational materials through neighborhood associations, community organizations and at events around the city.

“It is important to educate our community about Zika and about how simple steps can help prevent the spread of Zika,” said Lisa McCormick, Dr.P.H., director of the UAB School of Public Health OPHP. “Mosquito abatement is the key, and there are things we all can do in our own yards to help reduce the number of mosquitoes in our community.”

Efforts to inform residents on the dangers of Zika in the area were made by city leaders, including Birmingham Mayor William Bell. The partnership distributed educational materials to reach adults and children, presenting facts everyone should know about Zika and tips for mosquito control. The City of Birmingham Department of Public Works shared its mosquito spraying schedule and offered free mosquito dunks, a substance dropped or poured into standing water that contains a bacterium that is toxic only to mosquito larvae.

“As part of Birmingham’s ongoing efforts to keep our residents aware of the Zika virus, our partnership with UAB’s Office of Public Health has helped to educate thousands,” Bell said. “I would like thank the staff at UAB for their collaboration with the City of Birmingham as we continue to do all we can to keep our community safe from the Zika virus.”

Throughout August and September, Mayor Bell hosted town hall meetings to present materials created by the UAB OPHP with facts and prevention methods for the Zika virus.

UAB, the City of Birmingham and the Jefferson County Department of Health continue to monitor Zika and its potential impact on the Greater Birmingham area with plans to continue education as needed.