The mosquito-borne Zika virus dominated the news headlines for much of the summer of 2016. Although the Centers for Disease Control lifted the last Zika cautionary travel designations in June and August of 2017, it is warning that the Zika threat is far from over.

Why Is Zika so Dangerous?

In adults, the Zika virus is typically not life-threatening. The symptoms of fever, headache, rash, and muscle and joint pain are typically mild to moderate and resolve within a week. Most people do not even get sick enough to seek medical treatment. The primary danger occurs when pregnant women become infected. The virus can be passed to the fetus and lead to severe brain defects.

How Zika Is Transmitted:

As evidenced by the 2016 outbreak, Zika can spread rapidly. An infected mosquito may spread the infection by biting multiple people. The virus can spread through the mosquito population itself as uninfected mosquitoes bite infected humans. Infected individuals can also spread the virus through sexual contact even after they no longer have symptoms.

Why Zika Is Still a Threat:

According to the CDC, populations of the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes that are the primary carriers of Zika are spreading throughout the country faster than expected. Although these insects prefer warm climates, such as Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, and California, they can be found as far north as Maryland.

How to Prevent Zika:

The best way to protect yourself and your family from a potential Zika outbreak this summer is to prevent mosquito bites by taking the following steps:

  • wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors
  • stay indoors with the windows and doors shut during times of peak mosquito activity
  • wear insect repellent containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, 2-undecanone, picaridin, or para-menthane-diol when outdoors

Using a professional pest control company to reduce the mosquito population around your home will help protect your family from Zika as well as other mosquito-borne diseases. MosquitoNix Houston offers a variety of mosquito and pest control services, including permanent misting systems and fogging treatments. We also offer eco-friendly treatment options that are free of pyrethrins, permethrins, and cedar oil. Contact us today for more information.