Initially discovered in 1947, the Zika virus remained in Uganda for years afterward. In the last year, outbreaks of the virus have been found in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Pan American Health Organization released an alert in 2015 that the virus had been discovered in Brazil. By February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization announced that the Zika virus was a public health emergency. The virus is expected to continue spreading in the coming years.
What Is The Zika Virus?
The Zika virus is technically a part of the same virus family as yellow fever. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines currently available to treat Zika. If a pregnant woman contracts the virus, it can cause microcephaly and neurological problems in the infant. In Columbia, more than 6,000 pregnant woman have tested positive for Zika. In the United States, there are more than 20 states that have had confirmed cases of the virus.
How It Is Spread?
Mosquitoes are the primary cause of the virus. After biting an infected individual, they spread the virus to someone else. The virus can also be spread through sexual contact, and fetuses can contract the virus from their mother.
Where Is It a Problem?
Before 2015, the Zika virus was primarily found in the Pacific Islands, Africa and Southeast Asia. Since then, it has spread to Latin America where Brazil and Columbia have been hard hit. The United States, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico have developed cases of the virus.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Anyone who lives in states like North Carolina, Texas, Florida and Hawaii is at risk for the virus. This virus spreads through mosquitoes, so anyone in mosquito-prone areas can contract Zika. Pregnant women are most at risk since the virus causes severe complications for babies. Their partners should also take precautions because Zika virus can spread through sexual contact weeks after the man has been infected.
How to Protect Yourself
The best way to protect yourself against the Zika virus is to avoid being bitten. Long-sleeved shirts, pants and mosquito repellents should be used to prevent bites. Since the mosquito that spreads this virus bites during the day, individuals should use window screens and take precautions to keep mosquitoes out.
If you'd like more information about controlling mosquitoes, contact Clegg's Pest Control. Or you can call on the phone at 888-672-5344 for a complete evaluation of your home or business.