The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is offering grant funding to a number of counties, including Livingston County, for the purpose of monitoring ticks and mosquitos for potential human viruses.

The partnership between the MDHHS and the Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) would provide $8,125 to the county to participate in the Vector-Borne Disease Surveillance and Prevention Project. Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses causes by viruses, bacteria and parasites transmitted by agents that include ticks and mosquitos.

The grant funding is meant to cover the cost of activities related to the program. The funds can be used to support personnel, to purchase supplies and equipment, and to produce and/or distribute materials related to disease prevention and control. Officials with MDHHS say the intent of the project is to support a low-cost surveillance system to identify mosquitos that can transmit Zika and other viruses, and to identify ticks capable of transmitting Lyme disease or other pathogens.

The goal is to determine what the vector-borne disease risk is in each area. Information from the surveillance will be compared to national data to systematically map the distribution of potential tick and mosquito vectors by county. A certain species of mosquito was recently identified in Wayne County that raised questions of potential Zika vector survival in Michigan. The project is also looking for a species of ticks that may be associated with the increasing risk of Lyme disease. The hope is that intervention activities can be conducted in a timely manner if either species was discovered in the region.

A resolution for the LCHD to participate in the project will come before the county’s Board of Commissioners Monday night for consideration and potential approval. (DK)