4 Things You Should Know About Zika Virus
1. The Aedes aegypti isn’t your average mosquito.
Many mosquito species that we come in contact with around the District of Washington don’t bite during the day. However, this isn’t true for the mosquito most commonly associated with the spread of Zika virus. The Aedes aegypti mosquito prefers to dwell during the day in environments close to people—in stairwells, under decks, and in shady areas near the house. Females are small, dark in color, with white markings on its body and legs. They are aggressive feeders, can be difficult to swat away, and often follow people into buildings.
2. Humans spread Zika virus, too.
While the majority of Zika virus cases are spread from the bite of an infected mosquito, infected humans can also move Zika virus from place to place. Studies have shown that the Aedes aegypti mosquito doesn’t travel very far from where it emerged as an adult. According to the World Health Organization, this means that infected persons then become carriers for the virus, moving it into other communities and countries. As an infected carrier, you should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in your first week of illness as to prevent the spread of illness to others.
3. Four out of five people infected with Zika virus remain asymptomatic.
This is kind of a big deal. Infected people in mosquito-saturated areas are spreading the disease without even knowing it. Your best defense against Zika is to avoid travel to areas with known outbreaks and to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. If you absolutely need to travel to areas where Zika is present, wear long sleeves and pants and maintain coverage of at least 20% DEET.
4. Pregnant women should take Zika seriously.
We still have a lot to learn about Zika’s relationship with babies In Utero, but research continues to show obvious links between Zika and an increase in the number of babies born with serious birth defects. A recent WashPost article described babies being born in Brazil with severe central nervous system lesions and other visual and hearing impairments. On Monday the Obama administration asked congress for 1.8 million dollars in emergency funds to assist with Zika abroad and to help create a plan to combat it—before the spring and summer mosquito season hits us.
We'll keep you posted...
Rest assured that American Pest is paying attention to Zika and our commitment to keeping D.C. residents informed about new developments and precautions to keep your family safe. If you should have any questions our entomologists are here to help! You can ask an entomologist and upload image files if you have any. For further information regarding mosquito and tick control for single family homes and row-homes, check out this page.
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