September 2016

United in the Fight Against Zika in Puerto Rico

With over 21,500* cases, and counting, Zika continues to spread rapidly in Puerto Rico. Local communities are looking for support—and solutions.

Often found in urban areas where there are dense populations, Aedes aegypti are a species of mosquito responsible for spreading viruses like dengue, West Nile, chikungunya, and Zika. The only way to control transmission is to reduce contact between mosquitoes and people, either through mosquito control or personal protection.

“Controlling mosquitoes in Africa to prevent the transmission of malaria is very different from controlling the mosquitoes found in urban, tropical settings,” explained Kurt Vandock, product development manager for Bayer Environmental Science. However, cases of chikungunya and dengue are now on the rise in rural areas, blurring the former line between urban and rural diseases.

While indoor residual spraying (IRS) and personal protection are recommended for mosquitoes in rural environments, space spraying and larvicides are the techniques traditionally used to tackle their city-dwelling counterparts.

Partnering to Protect Public Health

Bayer is working with government organizations, from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) to state health departments and mosquito abatement districts, to protect public health in places like Puerto Rico. Representing the private sector, Bayer participated in the CDC’s Zika Action Plan Summit, where Director Tom Frieden stressed the importance of mosquito control and sharing best practices.

A member of the American Mosquito Control Association, Bayer is committed to finding new solutions. With no existing vaccine, the elimination of Zika and other vector-borne diseases depends on mosquito control. Earlier this year, Bayer employees were on the ground in Puerto Rico, sharing mosquito control best practices through hands-on training. Together with the CDC, Bayer provided technical support, training materials and products to local health officials and mosquito control experts. 

According to Gordon Morrison, Crop Science Business Manager for Vector Control, mosquito abatement districts do a lot of work behind the scenes. “These guys are experts with an important mission.” These mosquito abatement districts are charged with spraying areas against mosquitoes, but not only. They take an integrated approach by monitoring adult mosquito populations, removing mosquito breeding sites, and even going to schools to spread awareness on mosquitoes and the deadly diseases they carry.

Learn more about why government mosquito control programs are important and how mosquito abatement professionals do their job in the video at the bottom of the page.


Mosquito Control: 5 Key Steps

In response to the growing need for protection against mosquitoes, and resistant ones at that, scientists at Bayer came up with DeltaGard, which earned a reduced risk classification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Combined with Suspend PolyZone for longer residual efficacy, DeltaGard offers powerful protection at a low dose (the application rate is equivalent to one aspirin-sized tablet dispersed over an entire football field!)

Follow these simple steps for an outdoor spray service program:

  1. Inspect the property and remove any mosquito breeding sites.
  2. Apply larvicides where appropriate.
  3. Spray for wide area mosquito control using a product like DeltaGard.
  4. Add a product like Suspend PolyZone for residual control.
  5. Report any changes. 
For more details, check out Backed by Bayer or download the Bayer Mosquito Solutions brochure.

By the Numbers: Zika and Bayer's Role

+1 billion people worldwide affected by vector-borne diseases

More than 21,500* Zika cases reported in Puerto Rico compared to 59 in Florida

Bayer donated 700,000 units of K-O Tab and +90,000 contraceptives to combat Zika in Puerto Rico 

$600 million released so far by the U.S. government to combat mosquitoes but Congress is debating an additional $1.9 billion toward Zika response

*CDC case counts at the time of publication (September 28, 2016).