State officials discuss Zika threat, response measures at summit

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ) – Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles, representatives from the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH), renowned experts and response partners gathered in Lexington on Thursday for the 2017 Kentucky Zika Summit.

This conference, held at the Lexington Center, brought together healthcare professionals, environmental specialists, state and local community leaders, emergency managers, school officials and numerous service organizations from across the state. The group gathered to discuss the current state of the Zika virus threat and determine what strategies and policies will best mitigate the threat.

Topics discussed at the Zika summit included an overview of the threat of Zika virus infection; congenital Zika infection; preventing travel-related transmission; Kentuckys mosquito population; public mosquito control efforts; addressing standing water issues and removing mosquito breeding grounds around the home; and personal protective measures like insect repellent and appropriate clothing. The event also introduced Marty Mosquito, public health’s mascot for Zika prevention and awareness.

Zika has been identified by the World Health Organization as an international public health threat; ongoing local transmission is occurring in more than 60 countries. No locally transmitted cases of Zika virus have been reported in Kentucky. Zika virus is not known to be circulating in the mosquito population in Kentucky currently. DPH and the Department of Agriculture have a working plan to respond to mosquito control issues if the virus enters the states mosquito population and are emphasizing the importance of localized and individual prevention.

To date, 37 cases of Zika virus have been reported in Kentuckians with a travel exposure and/or sexual exposure to someone who traveled to a Zika-affected area.

For further information or to sign up for health alerts, visit or the CDC website at Be sure to follow KYHealthAlerts on Twitter and DPHs Zika mascot, Marty Mosquito, on Instagram, @martymosquito. For destination-specific guidance and travel notices, visit: or download CDCs TravWell mobile app.

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