NOBLESVILLE -- The Hamilton County Health Department reviewed its Zika Action Plan this week. The meeting comes as the first locally transmitted cases are suspected to hit the U.S.
Indiana has 16 reported cases of Zika, all of them travel related, but one of the mosquito species that can carry the disease has been found in Indiana. This promoted the Hamilton County Health Department to develop a Zika Response Plan at the beginning of the summer.
Hamilton County Director of Environmental Health Jason LeMaster says the plan was crafted using CDC guidelines and varies from their existing plan to battle West Nile Virus.
"This tends to be more of a container breading mosquito versus our West Nile mosquito," LeMaster says. "You tend to find that in stagnant water pools in larger areas, so that’s where we had to change up our strategies."
This spring the Congress approved $589 million in funds for Zika response. Congresswoman Susan Brooks attended the meeting and says more may be needed.
"We’ll see if we’ll try to get additional funding," says Brooks, "but I think this is going to be a problem we’re going to have to work on in the next fiscal year as well."
Indiana received $766,000 of this money, some of which will go toward educating the public about the risks of Zika, the biggest of which is a serious birth defect called Microcephaly.
The Indiana State Department of Health’s Action Plan is also modeled on the CDC information and is awaiting final agency approval, which is expected in the next couple of weeks.