Mosquitoes are already known for carrying and transmitting nasty diseases like the West Nile Virus. Well, we can add one more to the list. Health experts are now warning people to be aware of the dangers of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
What is the Zika Virus?
Although people in the U.S. are just beginning to hear about the Zika virus, it was first discovered in 1947 in Uganda. The virus remained relatively isolated within Africa until it spread to parts of Asia. Now, after a recent outbreak, the virus is quickly spreading throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. It is carried in the Aedes mosquito, a species that has a global presence.
According to the CDC, only 20% of people that get infected will experience any symptoms from Zika. When symptoms do occur, they are usually minimal. Zika’s cold-like symptoms include:
- Joint Pain
Most cases are rather mild, and the person doesn’t realize they have contracted Zika. That’s why the virus is considered to be so problematic.
More troubling is the danger it poses for unborn babies. Doctors have linked the Zika virus to microcephaly, a rare birth defect that causes a baby’s head to be much smaller than normal. The condition also causes severe brain damage.
The connection between Zika and microcephaly was made in Brazil this past year. Zika was first reported there in May 2015. Since that time, microcephaly cases dramatically increased from approximately 200 a year to over 3,000 last year.
Who Should Be Concerned
The virus has slowly been creeping closer and closer to the continental U.S. In November 2015, Zika was reported in Mexico. The following month, there were reports of the virus in Puerto Rico. In January 2016, a baby in Hawaii was born with microcephaly after the mother had been in Brazil while pregnant.
More troubling is that a case of Zika was reported in Texas just weeks ago. Doctors say that people who have traveled abroad and contradicted the virus could spread it to mosquitoes here. If the person is bitten by a mosquito within the week that they are infected, the Zika virus could be picked up by the mosquito and spread to other people. If that were to occur, the virus could become a much more serious issue across the U.S., particularly in the southeast where there are large mosquito populations.
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are the most at risk since the virus itself isn’t life threatening. Women should note that if they get Zika, it won’t affect future pregnancies. The virus is transmittable to a baby only when it’s in the mother’s bloodstream, which is usually 2-7 days after being bitten. Two weeks after the infection a mother wouldn’t pass the virus on to the baby.
Controlling mosquitoes has been a concern in the southeast for years, and now the prevalence of the Zika virus is making it an even higher priority. Vulcan Termite & Pest Control Inc. offers custom mosquito prevention in Alabama. Our custom treatment plan will keep your property free of pesky mosquitoes from April to October.