There is some very useful information in yesterday’s Rutland Herald article by Will Mathis, Director of Operations of the BLSG Insect Control District. So it was disappointing to see the group is still misleading residents about the risk of contracting the Zika virus from mosquitoes in Vermont. The article mentions that insect borne diseases are part of their justification for controlling mosquitoes, and then adds “Vermont has now recorded its first case of the Zika virus.”
The Vermonter with Zika did not get it from a mosquito bite in Vermont or anywhere north of Florida or Texas. That Vermonter had travelled to an area where Zika is present. Zika virus and the primary mosquito vector of the disease (Aedes aegypti) are not present in Vermont (more here).
Vermont residents need to make important decisions about reducing the risks of mosquito borne diseases. Suggesting that Vermonters should be concerned about a disease that is not carried by mosquitoes here is counterproductive. The BLSG website also exaggerates the importance of Zika with a scary five-page “special report” about it. This seems like an irresponsible approach to public education.