Zika Virus and the Aedes Aegypti Mosquito
General Pest Control
A dangerous viral pathogen believed to be linked to an increase of infants being born with the congenital condition Microcephaly is making quite a stir in the U.S. after a baby born in Hawaii was confirmed to be infected with the nasty virus. Zika virus, a mosquito-borne illness contracted from the bite of infected female Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, is creating both fear and concern especially among residents of southern U.S. states.
Here’s what we know about Zika virus and keeping your loved ones protected:
How is the Zika virus contracted?
Zika virus is spread through the bite of infected Ades mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that are known for transmitting dengue fever and chikungunya. Asian tiger mosquitoes have also not been ruled out as being capable of transmitting the disease. It’s important to understand that there is no vaccine or medicine that one can take for this virus.
Where is the Zika virus found?
Central and South America are currently experiencing a widespread number of cases of Zika virus. The CDC has reported cases in more than forty states, including Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia, but it appears as though all of these cases were contracted while the individuals were traveling to countries where Zika virus is pandemic. Be sure to consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for existing travel alerts to countries with increasing saturation of Zika virus.
Does Zika virus cause birth defects in pregnant women?
The short answer is this—there is much more to learn about the effects that Zika has on unborn babies. What we do know is that there have been reports of a huge uptick in the cases of Microcephaly in countries afflicted with Zika virus. The CDC has urged pregnant women and women planning pregnancies to postpone travel to these countries until additional studies can be carried out. A level 2-Practice Safe Precautions travel notice was issued within the last week. You can view the alerts here.
What are the chances that Zika virus spreads throughout United States?
The National Pest Management Association and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are monitoring Zika closely. While it is difficult to predict whether or not Zika will reach nightmarish proportions in the U.S., we do recommend educating yourselves about personal mosquito protection and by doing your part to eliminate mosquito breeding sites around the home.
How do I know if I have Zika virus?
One in five cases (or about 20%) will have no obvious symptoms. Those that do appear symptomatic have reported headaches, fever, rash, conjunctivitis in the eyes, and pain in the joints. Symptoms generally begin two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Please tell your physician if you have traveled to any country where Zika virus is prevalent.
What can I do to prevent Zika virus?
The best way to avoid mosquito-borne viruses is to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes. The CDC recommends applying mosquito repellent (with at least 20% DEET) on exposed skin and clothing. While there are varying concentrations of DEET to address different needs, as a general-rule, a higher concentration of DEET will offer longer-lasting protection from mosquito bites. This just means that you may not need to apply the product as frequently (at higher percentages) during periods of outdoor activity. As always, follow the label instructions.
It’s equally important to reduce the instances of mosquito breeding sites around your property. As little as a cup of standing water can rapidly become a suitable habitat for the female mosquito to lay her eggs. Be sure to walk your property after it rains and dump any water that may have collected in outdoor toys, planters, and other areas that retain stagnant water.
When to call in the professionals...
Good mosquito control begins with our tips above, but if you should want to leave the work to our pest professionals, consider learning more about our monthly Mosquito and Tick Program and how it can provide you with proven protection from mosquitoes and ticks:
How will American Pest eliminate mosquitoes and ticks around my home?
Step 1: We begin by inspecting your yard and surrounding property to identify where mosquitoes and ticks reside and breed.
Step 2: We utilize specialized misting equipment to provide treatment to shady areas, around shrubs, under decks, and boundary areas once a month during peak periods of mosquito and tick activity.
Step 3: We limit mosquito populations by treating breeding areas with a biological mosquito larvicide that stops the development of larvae at its source.
No other program provides the safety and security that you need in a biting insect program. To learn more, contact us.
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