What is Zika virus?
Zika is a disease that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. According to the CDC, Zika was first discovered in 1947, and in 1952 the first human cases of Zika were detected. Since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. More recently, epidemics have spread across the Eastern Pacific and into South and Central America. There have also been reports of Zika cases across the United States.
How is Zika transmitted?
Zika virus is spread through the bite of an infected Aedes genus of mosquitoes, which is the same type of mosquito that carries dengue fever and chikungunya. Aedes aegypti, which live predominantly in tropical and sub-tropical regions, are the primary carriers of Zika. Aedes albopictus, commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito, might also transmit the virus and is found much farther north in the summer.
What are the chances of a Zika outbreak in the United States?
While the probability of infected mosquitoes traveling to the United States is unlikely, there is reason to believe that Zika virus can spread locally. If more imported cases continue to surface, especially as the summer months near, it may result in human-to-mosquito-to-human spread of the virus in areas of the country where mosquito vectors are present. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations are monitoring the situation closely. Please find more up-to-date information at PestWorld.org and at CDC.gov.
What are the symptoms of Zika?
For the complete information regarding Zika symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, see here from the CDC.
Does Zika have any adverse effects?
According to the WHO, there are reported potential neurological and auto-immune complications associated with Zika virus disease. Recently, local health authorities in Brazil, have reported an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome which coincided with Zika infections in the general public, as well as an increase in babies born with microcephaly. More investigation is needed to better understand the relationship between these conditions and the Zika.
For more information about Zika and pregnancy, the CDC has more information here.
What should I do if I suspect that I have Zika?
If you start experiencing symptoms of Zika, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention, especially if you are pregnant.
How can I prevent Zika Virus?
Following the NPMA provided prevention tips can help protect your home and family from biting mosquito populations, additionally, it is important to follow updates from the CDC and WHO regarding transmission to limit your risk. If you are traveling, check for travel advisories declared by the CDC.