For Immediate Release

May 13, 2016; 4:30pm

DPHSS Release No. 2016-038

Availability of Free Pesticide Application for Pregnant Women Households (Only for a Limited Time)

The Department of Public Health and Social Services would like to announce the availability of pesticide application to the homes where pregnant women reside, free of charge, in an effort to protect them and their unborn children from mosquito-borne diseases through prevention and control activities of immature and adult mosquitoes. 

Mosquito-borne diseases are diseases that can be spread through the bite of mosquitoes. A mosquito species, Aedes spp., found in Guam is capable of transmitting diseases to humans.  Some examples of these diseases include Chikungunya fever, Dengue fever, and Zika.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that when the Zika virus infects a pregnant woman, it can cause microcephaly, a rare birth defect that results in babies being born with small heads and sometimes small brains that can lead to severe developmental delays and in rare instances death.

Although there are no endemic cases of mosquito-borne disease on Guam, this Department is nonetheless concerned that there could be an introduction and spread of such diseases with the anticipated arrival of 3,000 delegates and 10,000 visitors for the Festival of the Pacific Arts 2016 (FestPac). 

As a precaution, the Department requested assistance from the CDC to apply insecticides for the elimination of adult and larval mosquitoes from living and multiplying around the homes of pregnant women.  This service is completely free and voluntary to pregnant women.  If you are a pregnant woman, and would like to take advantage of this free service, you may contact Maria Dixon at 735-7104 or maria.dixon@dphss.guamdev.com.  In addition, this service is only available for a limited time up to 5:00 pm on Thursday, May 19, 2016.  The list of participants will then be forwarded to CDC for scheduling.

The public is assured that these pesticides (deltamethrin and Bacillus thuringiensis, subsp. israelensis) are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).  Based on the insecticide labels, the threat to human health is minimal and has low toxicity.  However, the Office of the Pesticide Programs of the USEPA has stated, “Where possible, persons who are potentially are more sensitive, such as pregnant women and infants (less than two years old), should avoid any unnecessary pesticide exposure.”

In addition, the Department encourages pregnant women and the general public to protect themselves from mosquito bites and offers the following recommendations:

  • Use EPA-registered mosquito repellant and apply according to the label instructions.  This includes children and pregnant women.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes.
  • Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with a repellent containing permethrin or DEET will give extra protection.  These repellants are the most effective and most studied.
  • Avoid being outside during times of high mosquito activity, including during the day and around dawn or dusk.
  • Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning or with window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.  Sleep under a mosquito-proof net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  • Zika virus can be spread during sex by a man infected with Zika to his partners.  If you have a male partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, either use condoms the right way, every time you have sex, or do not have sex.  Not having sex is the best way to prevent getting Zika from sex.
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by removing containers that may collect water or emptying them weekly.

For further information, please contact the Mosquito Surveillance and Control Program of DEH at 735-7221.

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