There is a new mosquito-borne virus in the news called Zika Virus. The rapid spread and severe implications of the virus have caused substantial alarm.
As of this posting on January 29, 2015; Mass. residents should not worry about Zika Virus unless they are traveling to or have recently returned from some of the affected countries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently has updated travel notices including information about Zika Virus for Cape Verde, the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, Samoa and South America. While travel advisories will include a list of required or suggested immunizations, the updated advisories include warnings about avoiding mosquito contact. Since Zika Virus is spread only by infected mosquitoes, the best protection is preventing contact with mosquitoes.
The World Health Organization has published information about Zika Virus summarized as follows:
- Zika Virus is transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes mosquitoes
- Symptoms can include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.
- A particularly disconcerting but yet unproven symptom of Zika Virus is brain defects, namely microcephaly, in children born from mothers known to be infected with Zika Virus.
- The CDC reports the following countries where Zika Virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. While not wanting to spur undue alarm, it is wise to consider the risk of contact with infected mosquitoes in the countries mentioned above. If pregnant, it is wise to do your research, ask your doctor, and be particularly conscientious in your decision to travel to an affected country while pregnant.
- The WHO reports that symptoms are generally mild and there is no specific treatment other than rest, hydration, and treating pain and fever with common medicines.
Two types of transmission
With mosquito-borne diseases, there are two types of transmission. The first is mosquito-to-human transmission caused by an ordinary mosquito bite. The second transmission type is human-to-human. With Zika Virus currently not present in the United States, worry and concern should only be taken if traveling to an infected country. For travelers stricken with the virus returning to the United States, it is possible that they will be bitten by an Aedes mosquito, transfer the disease to that mosquito who then transmits the disease to another human – thus human-to-human transmission. The infected human becomes the disease reservoir allowing the disease to be transmitted locally. At this time, there are no known human-to-human transmitted cases in the US. It’s important to check the CDC and WHO websites regularly for updates.
Just prevent contact with mosquitoes
There are a number of mosquito-borne diseases that are present in the United States including Dengue Fever and West Nile Virus. Preventing mosquito contact prevents disease transmission.
Mosquito Squad provides season-long mosquito protection for your entire property using an effective barrier spray treatment. This treatment will eliminate 90 – 95% of the mosquitoes in your yard. You can further protect you, your family and guests by removing all standing water and avoiding being outside at the most common mosquito breeding times including dawn and dusk.
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