Arrow Exterminators Blog

Friday, February 5, 2016

Zika Virus & Mosquitoes: What You Need to Know

Since we originally posted this article in February, there have been a number of updates to the Zika virus public health emergency. In order to keep you as informed as possible, we’ll be adding new details periodically as the CDC releases them. 

UPDATE (as of April 27, 2016):

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In February, the CDC elevated its response efforts to a Level 1 activation, which is the highest response level. As of April 27, 2016, there have been no local mosquito-borne cases of Zika virus in the U.S., though there have been 426 travel-related cases reported in over 42 states.

They predict somewhere around 80 percent of cases will go undiagnosed, and the number of infected travelers visiting or returning to the U.S. will likely increase. These cases that come into the U.S. could result in more of a local spread, particularly since the CDC has recognized that Zika virus can be spread through sexual transmission from an infected man to his partner.

The CDC has also released instructions for putting together a “Zika prevention kit” for pregnant women who are concerned about catching the virus. Read below for our original story, including suggestions and tips for preventing mosquito bites when traveling.

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Recently, the CDC issued a Level 2 travel alert related to Zika virus, urging people to take extra precautions when traveling to Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites, and includes common symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Concerns about Zika virus came to light after reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected while pregnant. Microcephaly is a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected when compared to babies of the same sex and age. Babies with microcephaly often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.

As of March 9, 2016, a total of 193 travel-related cases of Zika virus had been reported in the United States. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat the virus, but you can protect yourself from contracting the disease when traveling by always using an insect repellant containing DEET, wearing longer layers when outside and making sure wherever you’re staying has screens on the doors and windows.

Though mosquitoes aren’t a huge concern in the U.S. during winter months, they become a serious nuisance (and disease carriers) as the temperatures start to rise. When mosquito season picks up, be sure you’re taking the following steps to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Always use insect repellants containing DEET
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water, such as birdbaths, flower pots and any containers that could be overturned and filled with rainwater
  • Keep rain gutters cleaned out to prevent water from standing in drains
  • Cut back or get rid of unnecessary vegetation around your home where mosquitoes can breed and rest
  • Keep swimming pools covered in colder months to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs there, and drain any water that has collected on top of pool covers
  • Remove water from tree holes and hollow stumps
  • Keep windows and doors screened to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your home
  • Consider using yellow light bulbs in outdoor light fixtures, as they reduce the number of flying insects around your home

 

If the mosquito prevention tips above don't solve your problem, call us today. We can set you up with a customized mosquito control program to help keep you mosquito-free all season long.

 

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Disclaimer: As members of the pest management industry, we are NOT experts in discussing Zika, nor can we speculate on its potential to spread. For the latest news and information about Zika virus, please visit the Center for Disease Control’s Zika virus page for the latest news and information.