Unless you have been living underneath a rock for the past several months, you have more than certainly heard the word “Zika”. But, what is this new mosquito-borne disease and what are its potential impacts on our local area? As the local expert on mosquito control, we find that it’s imperative to inform you as to what the disease is and how you can keep yourself and your family safe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of March 23, 2016, there have been 273 cases of Zika reported in the United States. Currently, however, all these cases were contracted while the patient was traveling abroad in areas where Zika is more prevalent. With the large amounts of conjecture and speculation as to the spread of this disease, it’s important to remember to check in with the CDC for actual, factual information on this topic.
The largest outbreak of Zika is in Central and South America, specifically within Brazil. The military within Brazil has actually been authorized to conduct house-to-house inspections for potential breeding grounds in order to aid in reducing the mosquito population. Clearly, it is a major concern for many Central and South American countries and it appears that concern is here in the U.S as well.
So, what is the Zika virus? Simply put, it’s an arbovirus, meaning it can be transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito. The two main culprits are the Aedes Aegypti and the Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquitoes. Both of these mosquitoes are renowned for their aggressive nature and their daytime feeding habits. Both mosquitoes would thrive easily here in Victoria where the climate is excellent for both. Zika can be transmitted to mosquitoes that feed on humans infected with Zika, for this reason it’s important to stay indoors and away from mosquitoes for at least one week if diagnosed with Zika.
Symptoms of Zika include:
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (aka “Pink Eye”)
- Muscle pain
You’re probably wondering if there’s a treatment for Zika. The answer, unfortunately, is no. There is no vaccine nor cure for Zika at the moment. Managing the symptoms of Zika is the only method of dealing with the virus. You should immediately visit your physician if you have been to any areas where Zika is common or prevalent and feel the sudden onset of any of the symptoms; by doing so you can quickly establish whether you have Zika, or something more common such as the flu.
There has also been, in the news, a grumbling on the issue between Zika and pregnancy complications. The exact link between Zika and birth defects, specifically microcephaly in infants, is still being studies further for more accurate and precise information. However, there is enough evidence so far to the point the CDC is discouraging pregnant women or women whom are trying to become pregnant from traveling to areas where Zika is prevalent.