Concerns over Zika virus in the U.S. were at the forefront of public health conversations this year. But what happens when the temperature drops? Do mosquitoes and the diseases they carry such as Zika virus just simply go away? Well, not exactly, says the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
As mosquito season kicks into full gear, it’s important to take a walk around your home and yard to identify areas that may be conducive to mosquitoes.
Q: What are the symptoms of Zika virus?
A: In general, most cases cause no symptoms. Only about 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill. Those who do develop symptoms often experience several days of mild headaches, fever, rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes) and joint pain.
Q: What is the treatment for Zika virus?
A: Zika virus is a self-limiting disease that typically only requires supportive care. Unfortunately, there is no medicine to treat Zika virus, nor any vaccine to prevent it at this time. However, the U.S. government has launched an effort to develop a vaccine given the recent surge in cases in the Americas.
Q: Can infection in a pregnant woman cause birth defects?
A: Little is known about the association between pregnancy and Zika virus, but studies of possible mother-to-child transmission of Zika virus are ongoing in Brazil, where there is a major outbreak of the disease. It is thought that a mother who is already infected near the time of delivery can pass on the virus to her newborn, but this is rare.
Zika virus has also been linked to a neurological disorder called microcephaly, which is known to halt brain development in newborn babies, cause babies to be born with small heads and lead to early death. It should be noted that 2,782 cases of microcephaly were reported in Brazil in 2015, when the Zika virus outbreak began, compared to 147 cases in 2014 and 167 cases in 2013.
Q: How can I prevent Zika virus?
A: The NPMA urges people to protect their skin from mosquito bites when outdoors by applying an effective insect repellant containing at least 20% DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus. People who are spending long amounts of time outdoors should also consider wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts to limit exposure to mosquitoes. The type of mosquito that carries Zika virus is a daytime biter, so taking preventive measures at all times of the day is crucial.
It’s also important to take steps around one’s property to combat mosquito nesting and breeding sites. This includes eliminating standing water in or around the home, keeping windows and doors properly screened and repairing even the smallest tear or hole.
Learn more about mosquitoes and mosquito prevention at: http://www.PermaTreat.com
Three U.S. women infected with the Zika virus lost or terminated pregnancies due to brain-damaged fetuses and three others gave birth to babies with defects, federal health officials reported Thursday.
The chilling revelations are the latest evidence of the mosquito-borne virus’ impact in the United States. Women can pass the virus to their fetuses, and the birth defects cited in the report were detected in infants infected with Zika, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said the new registry was created in anticipation that the virus will soon be transmitted by mosquitoes in the continental U.S.
“The information collected will be crucial for understanding the impact of Zika on pregnancy,” Hotez said.
The primary birth defect caused by Zika is microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and incomplete brain development. Babies with the defect often have a range of problems including developmental delay, intellectual disability, problems with movement and balance, hearing loss and vision problems. The effects and severity of Zika-linked microcephaly become more apparent as children grow older.
Other birth defects can include calcium deposits in the brain indicating possible brain damage, excess fluid in the brain cavities and surrounding the brain, absent or poorly formed brain structures, abnormal eye development, or other problems resulting from damage to brain that affects nerves, muscles and bones, such as clubfoot or inflexible joints, the CDC said.