The Zika Virus: What You Need To Know
Recently, you may have heard on the news or on Facebook that the Zika virus has hit the United States. The mosquito-borne pathogen has been quite the topic of conversation lately, as it has been associated with severe birth defects and developmental issues. This week, we’re here to set the record straight, and give you the information you need to know about the Zika virus, and how you can defend against it.
As we previously stated, the Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus, which means the only chance of infection is through a mosquito bite—it cannot spread person to person. Until recently, no one in the Western Hemisphere has been infected by it, until last May where an outbreak occurred in Brazil. Over the summer months, most of Latin America has been infected by the virus, including Mexico and Puerto Rico. On Saturday the virus has hit the United States with a baby born in Hawaii being diagnosed with the virus.
The Zika virus bears symptoms similar to other mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile virus and yellow fever. Only 1 in 5 people infected with the virus show symptoms, which includes fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. These symptoms are generally mild, and last a few weeks. However, the real danger of the Zika virus is its link to birth defects. It is thought that the virus has a direct connection with microcephaly, a condition that causes abnormally small heads in infants. Microcephaly most often leads to mental retardation.
Now comes the million dollar question: What can you do to prevent against it? The best thing you can do is to avoid travelling to regions known to have a high outbreak of the Zika virus, especially if you are pregnant. These regions include most of Latin America, Brazil, and Africa. If you do plan to travel to these regions, we do advise you to wear long pants and sleeves, as this will help prevent mosquito bites. As of right now, there is little chance of an outbreak in the United States, so there is no need to worry about the virus if not travelling.
There you have it, what you need to know about the Zika virus. At the end of the day, if you are not traveling, the virus should have no bearing on you. Should anything else come up with the Zika virus, we will be sure to let you know. We have your back for everything pest-related.