As the winter season fades into spring, a familiar foe will reemerge and once again pester us at BBQ’s, camping trips and soccer games alike. These persistent buggers we know as mosquitoes have become infamous for much more than just itchy bites; the list of transmittable diseases associated with them has evolved once again. In addition to West Nile, Chikungunya and other diseases, multiple cases of the Zika virus have been recorded in the United States.
It should be noted that no cases have originated in the USA. The fact is all recorded cases were contracted in foreign countries, particularly countries south of our border. While no cases started in our country, it is imperative that we pay close attention to the spread of this disease across multiple countries in Central and South America.
The unfortunate first U.S. recorded case was a newborn in Hawaii; the baby suffered from birth defects stemming from the Zika virus, and was contracted by the pregnant mother while travelling in Brazil. Zika is associated with microcephaly, a congenital condition that causes abnormal brain growth. It is important to mention that while the disease was transferred from the mother to the baby while in the womb; neither party was infectious, posing no threat of transmission to the public.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure or treatment for Zika, the viral cousin of dengue fever. Last week the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement regarding considerations for travel and protection. CDC and WHO recommends pregnant women postpone travel plans to countries affected by the Zika virus, or discuss strict steps with their healthcare provider to avoid mosquito bites.
The National Pest Management Association said, “While we can’t speculate on the virus and its potential to spread, it is better to be prepared and practice vigilance in mosquito control by protecting yourself from coming into contact with mosquitoes and by eliminating breeding grounds at home.” Simple precautions you can take to prevent complications with the Zika virus include keeping yourself protected by covering up with appropriate outerwear, and using insect repellants and sprays containing DEET. The director of the CDC shared that since the first large outbreak of Zika in 2007, they have been working feverishly to develop tests that confirm Zika within a week of illness as well as the more challenging task of diagnosing prior infection. “The CDC’s laser focus is protecting the health, safety and security of Americans; learning more about Zika and fighting it is a top priority,” says Director Frieden.
HomeTeam specializes in helping our customers protect their homes and yards from a long list of insects – including mosquitoes. Schedule an appointment with a HomeTeam technician, who can provide a thorough inspection of your home’s perimeter to identify potential breeding areas the NPMA warned about like: storm drains, gutters, bird baths and flower pots. We can also treat existing live infestations and recommend an insect management plan to help keep your home and yard pest free.
Contact your nearest office branch today to discuss how you can stay ahead of the game. If you’d like to read more, additional resources are listed below.