A lot has happened in the last 12 months since Zika became a threat here in the U.S. Awareness about the dangers of the Zika virus is much higher, giving many people one more reason to protect against mosquito bites. In this update we’re taking a look at what’s been done to combat the virus in the last year, what we’ve learned and how the current situation looks.
Zika Cases in the U.S.
As of this writing there have been 5,040 known Zika virus cases in the U.S. Of those, there were 38 Zika cases in Alabama. The silver lining is that only 220 of the cases were acquired within the United States. More specifically, the U.S.-borne cases were in Florida (214) and Texas (6). The presence of Zika in Florida isn’t surprising to experts. The species of mosquito that carries the Zika virus thrives in the hot, humid climate of southern Florida.
Zika is much more prominent in U.S. territories and countries throughout Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Brazil has been heavily impacted over the last few years, however the country’s officials are working to control the outbreaks.
If you plan to travel this spring and summer check out the CDC traveler’s guide to know if Zika will be a possible problem.
Important Zika Discoveries
Over the last year and a half scientists have rushed to study the Zika virus. Their efforts have uncovered a wealth of information about how the disease is transmitted and what it does in the body.
Testing has shown that the virus will remain present in the body for a few weeks after symptom onset. However, recent tests that analyze the presence of Zika in more detail show it may be detected for longer periods than previously believed. It’s possible for Zika to be detected up to three months after transmission.
One of the most important discoveries was evidence that Zika can be transmitted from one person to another. For some time after the initial outbreaks it was unknown how contagious the virus could be. So far doctors can definitively say it’s not airborne, but transmission is possible through intercourse, blood transfusions, and from mother to child in utero. Animals, of course, can also be infected with the Zika virus.
Zika Treatments and Testing
Scientists have yet to discover a treatment for Zika. However, researchers in St. Louis recently announced they’ve created a vaccine that works in mice. The next step would be to begin testing on humans.
Right now the best people can do is use prevention methods to reduce bites and control the mosquito population. More and more city governments in susceptible areas are increasing their public mosquito control programs in hopes of preventing a domestic outbreak.
On the plus side, doctors have developed tests to screen for Zika. This is an important measure since the majority of the time people have no symptoms. If you’re trying to get pregnant it’s highly advisable for you and your partner to get tested. Those that have recently visited affected areas are at an increased risk and should get tested before getting pregnant.
Vulcan Termite and Pest Control Inc. provides custom mosquito control across Central Alabama. We can show you how to control the mosquito population on your property and treat the area to get rid of adult mosquitoes, larvae and eggs. Give us a call today!