Zika Virus Spreads to Central Florida
Since Florida’s Surgeon General John Armstrong declared a public health emergency for the Zika virus on February 3rd, the total number of people infected with the virus has risen to 26 in the state. Although these are all imported cases seen in people who traveled outside the country, there is a rising concern that the virus will begin to spread locally and rapidly throughout the US.
Until recently, the Zika virus was dominantly found in African and Latin American countries, with the largest amount of cases found in Brazil. But now with low airfare costs, the tourism industry and the weather warming up, Orlando and Central Florida are facing major risks. To date, there are no known mosquitoes within Florida that carry the Zika virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is keeping a close eye on the situation.
What is the Zika virus?
The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness. It is transmitted through the bite of a single species of daytime-active mosquito called Aedes aegypti. These mosquitoes also carry yellow fever, dengue fever and the chikungunya virus.
What are the Zika virus symptoms?
The most common symptoms are fever, headache, joint pain, rash and painful red eyes. Most symptoms are mild, lasting about a week, and very rarely require hospitalization. However, some people experience no symptoms at all.
What are the effects?
The Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, a rare neurological condition where children are born with underdeveloped heads and brains. In Brazil, where instances of the virus have surged, there has been an increase in the number of severe cases of microcephaly. The rising concern has Brazil officials urging women to postpone their pregnancies until more studies can be done.
How does this affect pregnancy?
Pregnant women who have recently traveled to an area affected by the Zika virus should talk to their healthcare provider even if they aren’t experiencing symptoms. Since the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, doctors are advising women not to travel to infected countries. If travel is unavoidable, they should speak to their physician first, and adhere to strict guidelines to avoid mosquito bites while abroad.
What are the available treatment options?
Currently, no vaccination exists to stave off or treat the Zika virus. Instead, the prevention of mosquito bites is the only option. This can be done by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, using screens on open windows and doors of homes to keep mosquitoes out, and by using insect repellent as directed.
What are the available prevention options?
Some of Florida’s larger cities have mosquito control plans, but there are steps you should take locally. The Aedes aegypti mosquito only needs a small amount of standing water to breed. By eliminating all standing water such as dog bowls, flower pots, and tarps that have collected rainwater in and around homes, you can help prevent mosquitoes from breeding and spreading the virus.
If you have any questions or concerns about mosquitoes in your area, then please call the experts at Heron Home & Outdoor.
Zika Virus Spreads to Central Florida in Orlando and surrounding counties
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