The Zika Virus
Are we at risk of being exposed to this virus?
Reports are coming from across the nation, Florida, Texas, New Jersey and New York, reports of confirmed cases of humans with the Zika virus. In case you are not familiar, the Zika virus is an emerging disease worldwide that is primarily spread by the bite of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Aside from illness associated with the virus, there are mounting concerns regarding it's impact on pregnant women. The virus has been linked to microcephaly, "a rare neurological condition in which an infant's head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age and sex". While the CDC and WHO (World Health Organization) have been issuing alerts regarding travel to regions with active virus transmission, how does this effect us at home, and what do the Pest Management Professionals think?
The National Pest Management Association has issued the following statement:
The National Pest Management Association is monitoring the situation closely and is working to help educate the American public about ways in which they can avoid personal contact with mosquitoes and how to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds to reduce biting mosquito populations here at home. Mosquitoes are often considered the most dangerous animal in the world and the mosquito species that transmit Zika virus are the same mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya and dengue. We are urging the public to pay close attention to this matter and to learn more about how to protect themselves from coming into contact with mosquitoes and to help reduce mosquito populations by eliminating sources of stagnant water around the yard and in their communities.
Dr. Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist and vice president of technical and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association, did an interview with Weather.com, pointing out “I don't know that we need to be worried [about Zika specifically], but we always need to be aware of mosquitoes and concerned about mosquito bites,” Dr. Fredericks said. “The mosquitoes that transmit this particular disease are in the United States already, but in order for transmission to occur, infected people need to be here [as well].”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the countries besides Brazil dealing with ongoing outbreaks are Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. Dr. Antonio Crespo, an infectious disease specialist at Orlando Health, said that people who become infected carry the virus for about two weeks after developing symptoms. That's why state and federal health officials are stressing the importance of preventing bites, dumping standing water around property and reporting symptoms to health care providers. Then extra measures can be taken to spray for the pests and eliminate their breeding grounds.
- Report any symptoms to a health care provider
- Ask your local Pest Management Professional about their services
- Don't panic, we will get through this together!
Read more about the symptoms and treatment of the virus: