Considering the high mosquito population in Houston, it makes sense that the Zika virus is a growing fear. Over the last year, Zika has made headlines across the world for its connection to microcephaly. This syndrome occurs in pregnant women infected by the Zika virus, and it leads to babies born with pointed or unusually small heads. In Brazil, cases of microcephaly spiked in the last year as more Zika infections were reported in the area.
The Zika virus was first discovered in Uganda in 1947. Since it typically causes just cold-like symptoms like joint pain and fevers, the Zika virus was largely ignored for decades. In 2015, an outbreak of Zika in Brazil led to the death of nearly 200 babies. Even more children have been born with the condition of mircocephaly. With the increased globalization and travel between countries, the Zika virus has now been spread to the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, there have been 346 confirmed cases of Zika in the United States. Since many people do not actually realize that they are infected with anything other than a cold, there are likely many more cases that have not been confirmed. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization officially declared that the Zika virus was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Residents in Houston are most likely to contract the Zika virus through an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes lay eggs in water sources like buckets or animal dishes, and the mosquito that spreads the virus bites primarily in the daytime. Once infected, a pregnant woman can pass the virus on to her child through the placenta. It can also be spread through sexual contact if one of the partners has been infected. While there have been no cases confirmed from blood transfusions in the United States, several patients in Brazil may have contracted the virus through a blood transfusion.
Presently, the main prevention technique is to prevent mosquito populations from spreading the virus. Remove standing water sources like buckets, flower pots and water bowls because these allow mosquitoes to breed. Spraying for mosquitoes can kill potential Zika-carrying pests. The mosquitoes that spread Zika bite mostly in the daytime, so avoiding the outdoors or spraying mosquito repellent can help. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to minimize the potential area that mosquitoes can bite. Installing window screens or mosquito nets can also prevent Zika.
The main risk for contracting the Zika virus is through mosquitoes. If someone is bitten by an infected mosquito, they may develop the virus. Once the virus has developed, it can be passed on to a fetus or a sexual partner. Anyone who lives in an area where the Zika virus is present is at risk for developing this disease. The main prevention is to remove mosquito populations that spread the virus. At MosquitoNix Houston, we can help to control mosquitoes on your property and remove the main risk factor for developing the virus. Contact us today to find out how we can help remove the mosquitoes that cause the Zika virus.