On May 24-25, Dr. Gredia Huerta-Montanez (HSC, COTC) attended the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) meeting in Washington, DC, where she presented on the Zika virus. The CHPAC is an advisory board to the EPA that is composed of external researchers, academics, health care providers, environmentalists, state and tribal government leaders, and members of the public. CHPAC advises the EPA Office of Children’s Health Protection on regulations and research related to children’s health.
Dr. Huerta-Montanez has been a member of CHPAC since 2014. Her presentation at the May meeting focused on the Zika virus, which causes microcephaly and other neurological problems in infants who are exposed in utero. The virus is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, an aggressive subspecies that invades homes and bites during the day. Unlike other mosquitoes, it can breed in very small bodies of water such as rainwater found in a pot or children’s toys left outside. Dr. Huerta-Montanez discussed the best practices for avoiding exposure to these mosquitoes, such as safe and effective use of approved insect repellents and installing windows screens to keep the insect out. She also analyzed the role of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies for vector control of the mosquito population.