Have you heard about the Zika virus? It is mentioned in news broadcasts every day and is making newspaper headlines around the world. Zika has recently landed on the world’s radar with reports of birth defects in infants born to mothers who contracted it. With the news evolving daily we wanted to provide you with a few basic facts to help you understand what Zika is and how you can keep your family safe.
Zika is a virus contracted by humans from mosquito bites. Infected Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquitoes are the primary vectors. These are the same mosquitoes responsible for spreading dengue & chikungunya viruses. Aggressive daytime feeders, these mosquitoes are difficult to avoid and fast to spread disease. Aedes Aegypti are not found in Massachusetts, but the Asian Tiger mosquito is periodically found among the mosquito population here in Massachusetts.
Asian Tiger Mosquito
Mosquitoes become infected when they bite a person carrying Zika virus. If diagnosed with Zika, avoid exposure to mosquitoes for the first week in which you could pass Zika back to other mosquitoes. According to the CDC, Zika has been reported to also be transmitted through blood transfusions, sexual contact and rarely from pregnant mother to unborn child.
Zika has stayed off the world’s radar due to only 1 in 5 people with Zika ever experiencing symptoms of illness. Symptoms vary but can include rash, fever, joint pain, conjunctivitis (pink eye), muscle pain & headache. Symptoms are usually mild and can last from several days up to a week.
Managing your symptoms is the only treatment for Zika. There is no vaccine, no cure, Zika simply has to run its course. During Zika illness get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over the counter medicine (always check with your doctor before taking new medicines) to relieve symptoms. If you suspect you may have Zika, consult your doctor to be tested.
While the exact relationship between birth defects (mainly microcephaly) and the Zika virus is still being studied, the CDC is recommending pregnant women take extra precautions to avoid mosquito bites when traveling to areas that fall under the Zika travel notice.
Microcephaly is a birth defect that causes a baby’s head to be smaller than expected in comparison to other babies of the same age & gender. Usually resulting in improperly developed brains, microcephaly can occur in combination with other major birth defects or as a singular defect.
Other problems can occur in babies with microcephaly depending on severity. Seizures, intellectual disability, developmental delay, balance problems, feeding problems, hearing loss or vision loss are among the potential complications that can accompany microcephaly. Spanning from mild to severe, these complications are often lifelong and can even be life-threatening.
The status of Zika in the United States is changing every day. So far, only 2 U.S. Zika cases have been transmitted in the U.S., the rest were contracted while traveling abroad. Brazil has suffered the largest outbreak with skyrocketing Zika cases and has been on the frontline in connecting Zika and microcephaly in infants. As spring and summer approach, we will be monitoring the threat of Zika in our area closely. Currently, there are no vaccines and no treatments. The best defense against Zika is avoiding mosquito bites. Follow our blog all season long for the latest information as we keep up with the latest news on Zika virus.
Protecting your family from Zika starts at home by eliminating the population of mosquitoes in your own yard. With our traditional barrier spray, we can eliminate 85-90% of the mosquitoes on your property. Barrier spray is our most effective and popular service, allowing us to keep yards mosquito-free all season long.
Call today for a quote or to sign up for mosquito control in North Shore, MA. 978-887-1177