2016 UF/IFAS Zika Challenge Impacts
Zika is a mosquito-transmitted virus of which there are no vaccines currently available (Lounibos et al, 2016). It is primarily spreading in tropical regions of the world. Four out of five infected people do not develop symptoms. Those that do have signs and symptoms might have fevers, joint pain, rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle pain and headache. The occurrence of Zika in Brazil provoked alarm because of increased incidents of infants born with microcephaly. In Florida, Zika virus is spreads primarily by two species of invasive container-breeding mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus.
The Zika Challenge was born from informal discussions between Ken Gioeli, UF/IFAS St Lucie County Natural Resources Extension Agent, and Dr. Roxanne Connelly, Professor of Medical Entomology with the UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Lab. The goal was to engage extension agents in outreach efforts to connect Floridians to UF/IFAS research-based information about mosquito management and personal protection. UF/IFAS administration supported these efforts and the Zika Challenge was issued to UF/IFAS extension agents on June 6, 2016.
The goal of the Zika Challenge was to provide professional development for UF/IFAS extension agents and to engage extension agents in outreach efforts that connect Floridians to UF/IFAS research-based information about mosquito management and personal protection. Public workshops were conducted. The Zika Challenge was promoted through social media and follow-up surveys were sent to measure adoption of practices. Extension volunteers were also trained on these practices to be better able to give accurate information to friends and neighbors.
The UF/IFAS Zika Challenge was an effective way to rapidly mobilize extension agents across Florida to address this public health threat. Twelve UF/IFAS extension agents participated in the Zika Challenge. Professional development opportunities resulted in these twelve extension agents earning public health pest control licenses. These extension agents then engaged with 2,271 people in sixteen workshops specifically addressing mosquito management, Zika virus and personal protection. Twenty published works were produced and the public was engaged via mass media/social media six times.
K. Gioeli email@example.com UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County Natural Resources, R. Connelly firstname.lastname@example.org UF/IFAS Assistant Professor, Extension Specialist Department of Entomology and Nematology
County-level leadership provided by
McConnell email@example.com UF/IFAS Extension Bay County Horticulture; S. Strickland firstname.lastname@example.org UF/IFAS Extension Osceola County Extension Director Agriculture, J. Davis email@example.com UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County Interim Extension Director Horticulture, B. Hall-Scharf firstname.lastname@example.org UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County Sea Grant, S. Dunning email@example.com UF/IFAS Extension Okaloosa County Commercial Horticulture, D. Demorest firstname.lastname@example.org UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County Environmental Horticulture, M. Hunter email@example.com UF/IFAS Extension Marion County Residential Horticulture, W. Lester firstname.lastname@example.org UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County Horticulture, E. Skvarch email@example.com UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County Extension Director Commercial Horticulture, S. Scalera firstname.lastname@example.org UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County Residential Horticulture, J. Walter email@example.com UF/IFAS Extension Brevard County Agriculture
Lounibos, L., Alto, B., Burkett-Cadena, N., Lord, C., Smartt, C., Connelly, C., and Rey, J. 2016. Zika, a Mosquito-Transmitted Virus. UF/IFAS EDIS. [Online] http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1120