The Zika virus has been rapidly spreading throughout the United States, with over 4000 cases reported as of October 2016. It can be frightening knowing that there’s a virus out there with very few symptoms that can cause serious health concerns, especially in pregnant women.
In order to best protect yourself, it’s important to be educated about what Zika is, how it transmits from person to person, and what can be done to minimize your chances of infection.
How Zika is Transmitted?
According to the CDC, Zika is primarily passed by mosquitoes from one person to the next. When a mosquito bites an infected person, they carry the infected blood to another family member or neighbor and bite them too, passing the blood onto them.
There are other less common ways that the Zika virus can be transmitted between two people. If a mother has Zika while she is pregnant, it is possible to pass the virus onto the fetus, which can then develop abnormalities and defects. There are no reports of children developing Zika following breastfeeding, and it is thought that the only way a mother can pass the virus onto her child is during pregnancy.
Another way you can catch the Zika virus is through sexual intercourse. This can happen even when there are no symptoms, and can occur whether the infection is recent or has been dormant for many months.
Blood transfusions always carry a risk of passing infection onto the patient through administering infected donor blood. It is extremely rare, as all blood goes through thorough testing methods prior to it being delivered into a new person.
Laboratory exposure is another possible way of getting Zika. This mostly applies to those of you who work in a laboratory where Zika is being examined or tested. As of June 2016, there has only been one known case of laboratory-acquired Zika virus in the United States.
CDC Recommendations to Prevent Zika
Some areas of the world have higher Zika exposure rates than others. For example, Costa Rica, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic are considered high risk areas in terms of Zika transmission.
If you’re planning a trip to a high risk country or location, then it is important that you take a number of safety precautions. These include:
- Efficient mosquito prevention techniques – it is important that you use insect repellants, mosquito nets, sprays, or organic natural repellant alternatives. Protective clothing should be worn outdoors, with arms and legs sufficiently covered.
- Safe sex – If you are traveling and happen to meet someone you quite like at your holiday destination, make sure that any fun you have together is safe and protected. Similarly, if a person is holidaying in your local area and is visiting from another country, safe sex is always the best way to prevent the spread of sexual infection.
- Limited travel while pregnant – Pregnant women are at a higher risk if infected with Zika due to the affects it can have on the baby. It can cause birth defects, especially towards the end of the third trimester, and often goes undetected due to the virus’s mild symptoms. Therefore you need to think carefully about where you choose to take your ‘babymoon’, and ensure it’s a lower risk country.
While Zika can be transmitted between people, mosquitos are playing the largest role in spreading this disease. By protecting your home from mosquitos, you will decrease your risk. We can help in this area, as we are experts in pest control and are experienced with treating mosquitos. To learn more about protecting your home, contact us today.
Filed in: Mosquito Control