Every few years a new disease appears on the scene and gains world-wide attention. This year the Zika virus is that disease. While Senske Services does not offer mosquito control we wanted to share some information about the Zika virus to help educate our communities with the latest information.
WHAT IS ZIKA VIRUS?
- Zika virus is a disease primarily transmitted through the bite of infected Yellow Fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) and Asian Tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus). However, men infected with the disease can transmit the disease to their sexual partners.
WHERE DOES ZIKA VIRUS OCCUR?
- Central and South America.
- At present, there have been 90 confirmed cases of Zika in the United States, but many of the cases were associated with persons traveling to and from Central and South America.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF ZIKA VIRUS?
- Infected individuals may display mild symptoms such as fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.
- Symptoms may persist for a week but infection with Zika rarely leads to death.
- The virus is also suspected of causing birth defects and small bouts of paralysis in infected individuals.
- Currently, there isn’t a vaccine available for Zika virus but infected individuals should get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and take fever reducing medicines.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ZIKA VIRUS AND PREGNANT WOMEN?
- Some Zika infected pregnant women have birthed children suffering from a neurodevelopmental disorder know as “microencephaly”.
- Infants born with microencephaly have smaller than normal heads which lead to motor skill deficiencies later in life.
- Researchers have not clearly identified the relationship between Zika and microencephaly, but pregnant women should take caution when traveling to countries with known Zika outbreaks.
DO AEDES SPECIES MOSQUITOES RESIDE IN OUR AREAS?
- No. There are over 150 mosquito species living in the United States but the two Aedes species mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) have not expanded their range beyond the Midwest and Southeastern United States.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports there haven’t been any mosquito transmitted cases of Zika in the United States. If you are traveling to Central or South America make sure to wear long sleeved shirts, pants, and mosquito repellents. Zika research is still in its beginning stages and new discoveries are being made every day. Visit your state department of health website, CDC site, or the World Health Organization (WHO) site for the most current developments.