Torres Hosts Roundtable on Zika in Southern California
ONTARIO, CA – Today, Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) hosted a gathering of area organizations working to address the Zika crisis in Southern California at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona. The participants provided an update on the ongoing impact of Zika on the region and discussed opportunities to coordinate efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.
“The Zika virus continues to wreak havoc throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean and Zika-carrying mosquitos have even made their way to U.S. soil,” said Torres. “Now is the time to make sure our local agencies, health providers, and community organizations are doing everything they can to educate residents and combat the spread of the virus in Southern California.”
There have been 335 confirmed cases of Zika in California, all travel-related. However, much remains unknown about the virus, including its long-term effects, the amount of time it can remain in the body, and methods of transmission. Participants in today’s meeting included representatives from the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control, the City of Pomona, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Pomona Valley Hospital, and Western University of Health Sciences. Ben Beard, MS, PhD, Deputy Incident Manager with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, participated via phone to provide participants with an update on the spread of the virus and on the most recent research being undertaken to understand and treat Zika.
“Zika has no cure, and the effects can be absolutely devastating,” continued Torres. “The participants recognized how difficult it is to convince individuals to take the kinds of precautions necessary to prevent the spread of Zika - including heeding travel warnings, using mosquito repellant in Zika areas, and clearing standing water. However, I was encouraged to learn about steps that organizations like the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control and Planned Parenthood have taken to begin to educate residents as well as the eagerness of all of the participants to work together to learn from each other and maximize efforts to stop the spread of the virus. I hope to continue this dialogue and work to develop the kinds of partnerships needed to fight what is becoming a global epidemic.”