The latest addition to his limited oeuvre, “Zika 101 (Vector Control),” addresses the threat mosquitoes pose head-on with the power of hip-hop.
“Don’t get sick with Zika from the bite of a mosquito/Prevention is easy, relax and I’ll teach you,” Lima raps. “Empty water from containers and dress to protect/When you feed ’em you breed ’em so wear approved repellents.”
It’s advice that anyone — particularly anyone who’s pregnant — has heard in the past year after Zika’s appearance in Brazil and that country’s epidemic of microcephaly. But as Zika fatigue sets in, Lima thought music would be an effective means of reinforcing best practices.
“It’s not necessarily the sexiest message,” he said. “I tried to find a way that’s fun to jazz it up and get it to a wider audience.”
Lima’s lighthearted look at Zika offers lesser-known, juicy tidbits about the disease — were you aware conjunctivitis is a symptom? — and practical tips on defeating the dreaded Aedes aegypti, the primary mosquito species that transmits the disease. (Lima documented last year in a published academic paper a previously unknown community of the critters that stick around Capitol Hill through the winter.)
His focus is “vector control” — a “vector” being entomologist-speak for something that spreads a pathogen from one organism to another.
“Vector control refers to actually first and foremost educating people,” said Lima, who calls himself a fan of “nerdcore” hip-hop that tackles academic themes. “Personal behavioral change is the best chance of avoiding contracting an illness like Zika.”
Though Lima produced the video on his own time, Fairfax County smiled upon the effort.
“We think it’s a clever way to engage the community with our Zika prevention message,” said John Silcox, spokesman for the Fairfax County Health Department.