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Zika Virus Q&A: Everything You Need to Know

Mosquito on leaf

There has been a lot of information in the news recently about the Zika Virus and as professionals who handle mosquito problems every day, we’d love to address any concerns you might have. While the Zika Virus has been around for over 70 years, it’s only been prominent in the news for the past few months. This is because it’s more widespread now than ever. By the end of this year, over four million people might be infected, and the World Health Organization has declared it an international health emergency.

Q: First and foremost, what is the Zika Virus?

In short, the Zika Virus is a disease-causing pathogen that is spread to humans through mosquito bites. It is closely related to dengue virus, which is also a mosquito-borne virus. Although most cases of this virus are mild, it does cause concern for pregnant woman, who can transmit it to their unborn babies, causing potential life-threatening consequences.

Q: How does the virus spread?

A: The Zika Virus is spread through a particular mosquito called Aedes aegypti. This mosquito can be infected with the disease and transmit the virus to a human when it bites them. This disease can also be transmitted through childbirth, sexual contact, and blood transfusions.

Q: Where are these mosquitoes?

A: The mosquitoes found carrying the disease live mostly in Central and South America. However, some cases have been found in India, Indonesia, and some African countries. Although these type of mosquitoes are found in the United States, they have not be found to carry the virus. People who have recently traveled to Central & South America might bring the virus back with them, causing it to spread.

Q: If they are far away, how does that affect me and my family?

A: The virus has been transmitted from people that have recently traveled overseas and have come home infected. Although there are not currently any cases of women infecting men, it can, however, be transmitted through sexual intercourse. As of now, it is only found to be transmitted through blood, and not bodily fluids like saliva.

Q: But it doesn’t sound likely that I’ll get it?

A: While it is unlikely you’ll get the virus, pregnant women do have to be extremely careful. The major problem with the virus is that it can cause microcephaly in infants, which is when an infant is born with an unusually small head and has brain damage. If you have recently traveled to Central and South America, you should see a medical professional immediately.

Q: What are the symptoms of the Zika Virus?

A: Only 1 in 5 people infected with the virus actually become ill. While this sounds like good odds, it can be very dangerous, because most people who have the virus most likely don’t know they’re infected. The most commons symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes.

Q: How can I keep my family safe?

A: The best way to keep your family safe from the Zika Virus is to not travel to the areas of the world where it’s prevalent. This includes Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Columbia, and many more countries in The Caribbean, South America, and Central America. Also, pregnant women should not have intercourse with men that have recently traveled to countries with the disease without talking to a doctor.

Q: Is there a vaccine?

A: Unfortunately there is currently no vaccine for the Zika Virus, which is even more reason to be careful.

Q: Will the Zika Virus become an epidemic in the United States?

A: While it’s unlikely that the United States will suffer from an epidemic that other countries are experiencing, we need to watch its progress and make sure that doesn’t happen. As of right now there’s no reason to believe that the mosquitoes in our country will become infected and transmit the virus to others.

Q: How can I prevent mosquito bites?

A: When outside, it’s best to wear long sleeve shirts and pants to protect your body from getting bit. You should also use a mosquito repellent that has at least 20% DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon-eucalyptus. It’s important to note that these preventative measures only help so much-- the most effective way to help prevent mosquito bites is to control the mosquito population in your yard by hiring a professional pest control company to spray your yard. Although you cannot guarantee complete elimination, it will help add an extra layer of security.

Q: How can I prevent mosquitoes in my yard?

A few preventative measures to prevent mosquitoes include:

  • Eliminating standing water from your yard- this includes pools, bird baths, pet bowls, puddles, etc. Mosquitoes need moisture to breed, and the more water in your yard, the more likely mosquitoes are.
  • Screen all windows and doors to ensure there are no entry points for mosquitoes to make their way into your home.
  • Minimize outdoor activity between dusk and dawn, as this is when mosquitoes are most commonly active.

The most effective way to prevent mosquitoes in your yard is to hire a professional pest control company that will employ monthly or quarterly treatments to help keep the mosquito population under control.

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This information will help keep your family safe from the Zika Virus, but there’s always more you can do to promote your family’s safety. Using mosquito repellent as well as wearing pants and long sleeve shirts will help stop mosquito bites, but they aren’t a long-term solution. If you want an extra layer of protection from mosquitoes this summer, let Terminix Triad help. With our mosquito program, we can help control and reduce the mosquito population in your yard this spring and summer. We know how important your family is to you, so we are offering $50 off our mosquito control services!

Learn more about our mosquito control services!