ZIKA VIRUS

With the recent spread of the Zika Virus, protecting yourself from mosquitoes is even more important.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

Key facts

• Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by 2 mosquito species, Aedes Egypti and Aedes Albopictus (aka Asian Tiger mosquitoes.

Aedes Egypti * * *


Aedes Albopictus

• People with Zika virus disease can have symptoms that can include mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.

• There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.

• The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.

• The virus is known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific.


Prevention

Vector control

Mosquitoes and their breeding sites pose a significant risk factor for Zika virus infection. Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people. This is mainly a responsibility of the local government.

What You Can Do

Check out the products and strategies discussed in What You Can Do on this website.


Treatment

Zika virus disease is usually relatively mild and requires no specific treatment. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available.


ABOUT MOSQUITOES

Mosquitoes have remarkable powers. They can see, smell and sense heat from a considerable distance. They can survive drought for decades.

Unlike most creatures, mosquitoes serve no beneficial purpose other than to make more mosquitoes. They don't aerate the soil, pollinate plants or serve as a preferred item in the food chain for other animals.

Many mosquitoes need animal or human blood to provide protein for their eggs. Only the females bite to get that necessary blood. This is the source of our pain and much sickness.

We do not have to tell you that mosquitoes are a nuisance. But you may not know that they can cause serious disease. Even today, millions of people die from diseases caused by mosquitoes each year. In the United States, there was a recent series of deaths caused by the West Nile virus.

According to a joint statement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

"Mosquito-borne diseases are among the world's leading causes of illness and death today. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million clinical cases each year are attributable to mosquito-borne illnesses. Despite great strides over the last 50 years, mosquito-borne illnesses continue to pose significant risks to parts of the population in the United States."

Diseases caused by mosquitoes include:

mosquito-borne viral encephalitis, dengue, yellow fever, malaria, and filariasis.

The major types of viral encephalitis in the United States include St. Louis, LaCrosse, Eastern equine and Western equine. These viruses are normally infections of birds or small mammals.

During such infections, the level of the virus may increase in these infected animals facilitating transmission to humans by mosquitoes.

The West Nile virus, which can also cause encephalitis, was found in the northeastern United States for the first time in 1999, is a good example of this mode of transmission. Human cases of encephalitis range from mild to very severe illnesses that, in a few cases, can be fatal."

"Dengue is a viral disease transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes. It is usually an acute, nonfatal disease, characterized by sudden onset of fever, headache, backache, joint pains, nausea, and vomiting. While most infections result in a mild illness, some may cause the severe forms of the disease.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever, for example, is characterized by severe rash, nosebleeds, gastrointestinal bleeding and circulatory failure resulting in dengue shock syndrome and even death. Dengue is endemic in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Recently, dengue has occurred with increasing frequency in Texas.

Other pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes include a protozoan parasite which causes malaria, and Dirofilaria immitis, a parasitic roundworm and the causative agent of dog heartworm. Disease carrying mosquito species are found throughout the U.S., especially in urban areas and coastal or in inland areas where flooding of low lands frequently occurs.

From the Joint Statement on Mosquito Control in the United States from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There have been efforts by many governments to control mosquitoes. There are now mosquito control districts in many states that provide monitoring, large scale control, and information.