Concern about the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus is increasing around the world. With warmer temperatures just a few weeks away here in Florida, it’s a good time to learn more about this threat and review the measures you can take to avoid mosquito bites.
What is the Zika virus?
The virus is a pathogen that causes disease through mosquito bites, and is related to the yellow fever, dengue, and West Nile viruses. Its chief symptoms are rash and fever, and it can also cause pain in the muscles and joints, conjunctivitis, and headache. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that symptoms last for two days to a week, and that 80 percent of those infected never have any symptoms at all.
The main carriers of the disease are the Aedes species mosquitoes. Unlike most other types of mosquitoes that are most active at dawn and dusk, the Aedes mosquitos are aggressive daytime biters.
Is Zika now in the United States?
Recent reports say that there have been seven people infected in the U.S., but all were travelers who had been out of the country. No cases of locally transmitted disease are known at this time. The virus isn’t known to spread directly from person to person, but health officials are concerned that mosquitoes biting infected people here could possibly transmit the virus by biting others. You can stay up to date on the spread of the virus at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Who is most at risk from complications from the virus?
Unborn children are the most at risk, with many suffering from microcephaly, defined as a congenital abnormal smallness of the head associated with incomplete brain development. The alarming spread of the virus in a number of South and Central American countries has prompted some health authorities to advise pregnant women to take every precaution against mosquito bites or even postpone pregnancies for two years.
How can the Zika virus be prevented?
There is no vaccine right now, but the same precautions that pest control experts have always advised to avoid mosquito bites are the best defense:
At Turner Pest Control, we eliminate the breeding sites of mosquitoes, and offer one-time or seasonal protection for you and your family as part of our comprehensive lawn and outdoor services.