The Zika virus has recently arrived in the United States. Spread by the Aedes species of mosquitoes, this virus can cause birth defects in pregnant women. The mosquito that spreads the virus bites aggressively in the daytime, so individuals are at risk at any time of the day. Once infected, individuals may develop flu-like symptoms and can pass the virus on to someone else.
How Does Zika Spread?
While it can be spread sexually, Zika is spread primarily through mosquitoes. Once a mosquito bites someone with the virus, they carry it to any other person that they bite. The only way to prevent the virus is by keeping yourself from being bitten by the mosquito. Long-sleeved shirts, pants and closed-toe shoes reduce the amount of skin that can be bitten. In addition, using window and door screens can prevent mosquitoes from coming inside. Some American cities are now spraying for mosquitoes in an effort to prevent Zika from reaching epidemic proportions.
Zika Is in the United States
While the news media has primarily focused on Zika's presence in Brazil and Latin America, there are two sections of Florida currently infected with the virus. Miami Beach and the Wynwood neighborhood have developed multiple cases of Zika. While everyone should avoid contracting the virus, pregnant women should be particularly cautious.
In the United States, there were 2,517 cases of Zika virus by August of 2016. An estimated 29 of these cases were acquired by mosquitoes in the United States. A total of 2,487 cases were from traveling outside of the country. In addition, 22 cases were from sexual partners spreading the virus. A single case was caused by a laboratory-acquired cause. Out of these cases, seven people have developed Guillain-Barré syndrome. Currently, it is too early to tell how many babies will be born with birth defects like microcephaly.
This Virus Can Cause Severe Birth Defects
In the last year, scientists have found that Zika infections during pregnancy can lead to microcephaly. This condition causes the baby's brain to incompletely develop. In addition, infants and fetuses infected with the virus have a higher incidence of other medical conditions. If you or a partner lives in an area prone to Zika infections, it is important to use condoms and prevent mosquito bites. The virus is only spread through mosquitoes, blood transfusions and sexual intercourse, so it is important to take preventative measures.
Prevention Is the Only Cure
There is no vaccine or treatment for Zika. Like the flu, patients are advised bed rest and plenty of fluids. The best way to prevent this disease is by preventing the mosquito bites from happening. Using EPA-registered insect repellent, dressing in pants and wearing long-sleeved shirts can prevent the bites. At home, residents should try to stay in places with air conditioning because mosquitoes dislike cooler temperatures. In addition, individuals should remove standing water from around their home.
Having mosquitoes around your home is one of the biggest risks for contracting Zika. If you have a mosquito problem, exterminators can help eliminate it. For help with all of your pest control needs, contact Venice Pest Control.