Zika Virus 101: Everything You Need to Know About the Virus
With warmer weather quickly approaching, mosquito season is well on its way, and concern is rising about the different pathogens that mosquitoes can carry with them and transmit with their bites. With the dangers of the Zika virus being in the news lately, your friendly mosquito experts at Patriot Pest Management want to take the time to address some of the concerns you may have about this mosquito-borne virus.
Although the Zika virus has been around for about 70 years, the most recent outbreak in South America is the largest and spreading quickly, which has garnered media attention and much concern from the World Health Organization. We have taken the liberty to answer some of your most common questions about the Zika virus, so you can be informed about it and take the best steps to protect your family and loved ones.
WHAT IS THE ZIKA VIRUS?
The Zika virus is a virus that is closely related to the much more historically known dengue virus. Although the virus can cause mild illness in those infected, the dangers of the virus increase for pregnant women, as the virus has been linked to birth defects for their unborn children.
HOW IS THE VIRUS SPREAD?
Like many viruses, the Zika virus is spread by mosquitoes who bite infected individuals and then go on to bite someone else, infecting that person with the virus. The type of mosquito that carries this virus is called Aedes Aegypti and is found mostly in South America, Indonesia, Africa, and parts of Asia. The virus may also be spread through direct person-to-person contact that involves the transfer of body fluids, including childbirth, blood transfusions, and sexual transmission.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE ZIKA VIRUS?
Did you know that for every five people who are infected with the Zika virus, only one of them will fall ill after infection? Common symptoms of Zika virus infection include:
- Joint pain
- Red eyes
- A rash
The fact that only one person in five will show symptoms of illness after infection makes this virus particularly easy to transmit since many of the individuals who are infected do not know that they have the virus.
IS THE ZIKA VIRUS IN THE UNITED STATES?
Although there have been some cases of the Zika virus in the United States already, these cases have been travel related. This means that the person was infected with the Zika virus while they were traveling to a country where there was already an outbreak, and they were infected there. When they traveled back to the United States, they were infected already and brought the virus back with them. These cases do not have a high potential for causing an outbreak in the United States because the type of mosquitoes that carry this disease aren’t present in the US.
IF THE VIRUS IS IN SOUTH AMERICA, SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT MY FAMILY?
The virus is currently only in the United States from people who have been infected elsewhere. This means that the native mosquito populations in the United States do not currently carry the virus. However, as the virus can be spread through blood transfusions and sexual contact, it is important to stay vigilant with your family’s healthcare.
WHO IS MOST AT RISK?
The illness caused by the Zika virus is relatively mild, and infection only causes illness in about 1 in 5 of those infected. However, it is not the healthy adults who are the most at risk from the Zika virus. This virus poses the biggest threat to pregnant women and their unborn children. The Zika virus has been linked to birth defects like microcephaly, in which the head and the brain do not fully develop in utero and the children are born with small heads and brains. Pregnant women and women who may become pregnant in the near future should exercise caution.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY FAMILY?
When taking precautions to protect your loved ones from the Zika virus, or any pathogen carried and transmitted by mosquitoes, it is important to deal with the mosquitoes first and foremost. Keeping your local mosquito population in check is your first line of defense against mosquitoes and not just the Zika virus, but any other illnesses that they may be carrying with them.
To prevent mosquitoes:
- Reduce excess moisture in your yard
- Use mosquito repellents
- Contact professionals like Patriot Pest for the best results
PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS AND SAVE $50
To protect your family from these illnesses, give your friends at Patriot Pest a call to schedule your mosquito treatments throughout the mosquito season. With comprehensive mosquito prevention treatments from the professional experts at Patriot Pest Management, we can reduce your existing mosquito population, kill off eggs and larvae before they hatch, and ensure that your family has fewer mosquitoes to contend with this year.
Fill out our contact form below to learn more about our mosquito control services, and enjoy $50 off your initial service!