In 2016, reports about the Zika virus dominated the news nation wide and in Savannah. This pathogen is transmitted through the bite of the mosquito, and although those who acquire the disease may experience only mild symptoms, the virus can be devastating to the development of fetuses in the womb. Of primary concern is microcephaly, a failure of the skull to develop properly, which can affect brain development as well as that of the eyes, and also cause clubfoot and muscular problems. To complicate the matter, Zika virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact for several months after a person has been infected with the disease. Health agencies in affected regions are implementing a number of strategies to limit the spread of the Zika virus to prevent the tragic consequences to fetuses that result from the infection.
What Areas are affected?
The Zika virus was first reported in 1947, in the Zika Forest of Nigeria. Currently, health advisories have been issued for many countries around the world in regard to the Zika virus. Many countries in Africa, Central America, South America and the Caribbean are affected by the virus, as well as some countries in Asia and the Pacific Islands. States in the southern United States, such as Florida and Texas, have also seen outbreaks of Zika. Individuals who live in, or travel to, these areas, should take precautions to prevent acquiring the virus.
What you can do to stop the spread of Zika
Currently, there are no vaccines to protect against Zika virus infection, nor is there a cure for its effects. Health agencies recommend a number of measures to reduce the population of mosquitoes and halt the spread of Zika:
- Protect yourself against mosquito bites. Use DEET or permethrin insect repellent and cover exposed skin when you are outdoors.
- If you are pregnant, avoid traveling to areas where the Zika virus has been reported. If you learn you are pregnant, and may have been exposed to the virus, discuss the matter with a physician immediately.
- If you live in an area where Zika has been reported, remove all containers where water can collect, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes that may be carrying the Zika virus. Empty out birdbaths, rain barrels, cisterns, buckets, planters and pools during peak mosquito seasons, or use tight-fitting covers.
- Make sure water drains and gutters are open and flowing freely.
- Keep mosquitoes out of homes by using air conditioning and ensuring that window and door screens are kept in good condition.
Good housekeeping can help to limit the population of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, and proper personal care measures can help to prevent the spread of the infection. Follow these tips to do your part to limit the damage from this dangerous virus.
We have a lot of water around Savannah and The Low Country. Do you part to remove all standing water around your home and neighborhood (boat yards are prime culprits for mosquito breeding). If you wish to have your yard treated for mosquitoes, please contact Bee Green Pest Solutions today!