Renae Crutchfield, Public Information Officer
214.819.6329 (office) 214.394.8109 (cell)
Zachary Thompson, Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DCHHS Partners with Grand Prairie Hosting Zika Canvassing Exercise
DALLAS (June 28, 2017) – Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) has teamed up with the City of Grand Prairie and Dallas County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to canvass Grand Prairie neighborhoods in preparation of responding to a locally acquired Zika case. Saturday, DCHHS staff, City of Grand Prairie and MRC volunteers placed boots on the ground, knocking on the doors of several Grand Prairie homes to assess DCHHS response planning procedures.
Zika virus has not been detected in Dallas County mosquitoes, however, DCHHS health officials are preparing to respond to the first locally acquired Zika case by hosting a canvassing exercise to test preparedness strategies.
“The goal of the canvassing exercise tests the ability to conduct neighborhood canvassing procedures in response to a suspected locally acquired Zika virus outbreak,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “We have collaborated with counties that have been impacted by locally acquired Zika cases such as Miami-Dade and Cameron County. Through identifying lessons learned in addition to best practices from these areas, DCHHS staff has completed a full range strategy to canvassing neighborhoods based on the current CDC interim response plan and the US Department of Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program.”
Together, nearly 50 staff members and volunteers walked door to door through Grand Prairie neighborhoods reaching out to residents. Canvassing teams advised residents of the potential Zika threat, completed preliminary surveys and distributed informative Zika document packages to those who made contact with staff and volunteers.
The cornerstone of the exercise focused on emergency public information and warnings, information sharing, public health laboratory testing, public health surveillance, epidemiological investigation and volunteer management. Through this exercise, DCHHS takes another step in preparedness plans marking the exercise as the first full range Zika canvassing exercise in Dallas County.
Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito in addition to sexual transmission. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant should follow CDC guidance to protect themselves from acquiring Zika. Women infected with Zika during their pregnancy can transmit the virus to their unborn child, possibly leading to severe birth defects, including microcephaly.
For information about Zika visit the DCHHS website http://www.dallascounty.org/department/hhs/zika.html