Zika Update: Experts Warn of Southern Outbreak

Mosquito Bite

We’ve been closely following news about the Zika virus since the story first broke at the beginning of the year. Health officials are now saying that the potential spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus is greater than originally expected. Experts are also connecting the virus to more health issues that can impact the lives of millions of people.

The Latest on Potential Zika Outbreaks

The Zika virus is a perfect example of why mosquito control is so important. What began as a small outbreak in Brazil has quickly become a global threat that’s now at America’s doorstep.

The director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently stated that the organization expects to see a U.S. Zika outbreak this year. Experts anticipate that dozens of people will be affected, if not more. Southern states like Alabama have the highest risk of a Zika outbreak simply because mosquitoes thrive in warm, humid climates.

As of right now, there are no reported cases of Zika infection happening within the U.S. borders. There are, however,  over 350 American citizens that have been infected while traveling abroad. That’s why the National Institute of Health has said it’s still safe for people to travel within the U.S. However, they have warned against pregnant women traveling to:

  • Puerto Rico
  • The Virgin Islands
  • Central America
  • South America
  • American Somoa

All of the areas above have had local cases of Zika infections. This puts people at a much higher risk of being infected with or without taking safety precautions.

New Findings on How the Zika Virus Impacts Our Health

Now that health officials have begun researching the Zika virus they are learning more about how it’s spread and the affects it can have on our health. They’ve discovered that it isn’t just spread through Aedes mosquitoes. It can also be spread through sexual contact if a person has been infected by a mosquito.

Doctors have also officially confirmed that pregnant women who become infected with the Zika virus are at a much higher risk of having a baby with microcephaly. There are now over 4,000 reported cases of babies in Brazil being born with this rare birth defect. Babies with microcephaly have abnormally small heads that typically impairs brain development. Experts believe that Zika transmission from a pregnant mother to her child could also lead to other severe brain defects.

Adults that contract the Zika virus can also get Guillain-Barre syndrome. It’s a condition where the immune system attacks nerves, often as a result of an infection. Doctors have reported some associated cases of meningoencephalitis. This is inflammation in the brain and the lining of the brain. Another possible concern is myelitis, inflammation around the spinal cord.

Health experts are working to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, but there are many things we can do to help protect ourselves during mosquito season this year. Integrated pest control that treats your property and eliminates standing water is important in controlling the mosquito population. It’s also important to protect yourself with appropriate clothing and bug spray whenever you spend time outdoors.

Residents of Central Alabama can contact the professionals at Vulcan Termite & Pest Control Inc. for more information on how to protect their property and family this summer. Because mosquitoes are such a pest in the state, we’ve developed treatment plans that are specifically designed to control and prevent mosquito infestations.