While everyone was talking about mosquitoes being out early this year, we have not heard much about Zika virus in Louisville. Last year at this time, it was all anyone could talk about in regards to mosquitoes. Does that mean the Zika virus threat is gone? We wish it were that simple.
Unfortunately, Zika is still a huge concern, especially for pregnant women. This year so far there have been on average 30-40 cases of Zika in pregnant women reported per week. While it may not affect them directly, their unborn babies are at a higher risk for birth defects.
2016 Zika Effects in the United States
Health officials recently released important 2016 Zika stats in regards to the number of cases in the United States last year and the related health effects. In about 1,300 Zika infected pregnant women, 970 of them carried their baby to full term. There were “77 reported pregnancy losses and 51 babies born with birth defects.” Forty-three of the 51 babies had microcephaly or other brain abnormalities.
The total numbers match what experts see in other countries in that the risk of severe birth defects is about 5% among pregnant women infected with Zika virus. That number rises substantially to 15% for those infected with Zika virus during their first trimester, making caution while traveling even more important during the first trimester of your pregnancy.
The first year worth of information is only the tip of the iceberg. Doctors still do not know how the Zika virus will affect these children as they grow. They don’t know if there are undetectable neurological issues that will show up later in life. The need for continued screening of Zika affected babies is a priority.
While Zika virus is not actively transmitted in the Louisville area, you do need to exercise precaution when traveling, especially if you’re pregnant. Make sure to follow the CDC’s latest Zika travel guide for the most up-to-date information.
Don’t forget, if you travel abroad and have unknowingly transmitted the Zika virus, you could very well pass it on to the local mosquito population. We recommend using Mosquito Squad of Louisville to limit the number of mosquitoes in your yard which will lower your exposure and risk of local spread of the disease. Call today to get a free quote for season-long mosquito control in your yard.