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).
Pets are important members of many families and the season’s summer showers and warm temperatures are bringing an unwelcomed risk to their health in the form of tiny, biting, blood-feeding pests. PermaTreat encourages people to protect their pets from ticks and fleas and safeguard against infestations.
Animals are ideal hosts for fleas and ticks because they are low to the ground and easy to hitch rides on, and their fur provides the perfect cover. These pests should be taken seriously as they pose significant health threats to both humans and animal friends, and are capable of transmitting multiple diseases.
Fleas, for instance, are an itchy annoyance causing flea allergy dermatitis, but they can also cause anemia, transfer tapeworms to animals and Bubonic Plague to humans. Ticks are equally dangerous, and depending on the species, are known to transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and can even cause tick paralysis.
The best way to protect your family from biting pests is to prevent an infestation from occurring in the first place. Pet owners should employ the use of preventive treatment options, thoroughly check pets’ fur after every trip outside, and maintain outdoor properties to be less inviting to flea and tick populations.
PermaTreat provides additional advice for keeping fleas and ticks off your pets and out of your home:
- Avoid walking pets in tall grass and wooded areas.
- Wash pet bedding and plush toys.
- Vacuum frequently.
- Talk to your veterinarian about prevention/treatment options to repel or kill fleas and ticks, and learn more about heartworm protection.
- If you find a tick, remove it immediately by extracting the head and mouthparts completely. If fleas are found, bathe animals. Consult with a veterinarian.
- If pests are present in the home, contact a licensed pest professional.
For more information, visit: PermaTreat.com.
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