Zika Virus

Laboratory-confirmed Zika virus disease cases reported to ArboNET by state or territory — United States, 2015–2016 (as of June 29, 2016)

The Zika Virus, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, and Mosquitoes

The following information will help you understand:

  • About the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that carry it
  • How it spreads
  • How to prevent the Zika virus
  • Where the Zika virus is a concern
  • Symptoms and treatments

About the Zika Virus

Zika virus disease is spread through mosquito bites.

Recently the public became aware of a Zika virus outbreak. The news coverage is extensive, mostly because the Zika virus is incurable. But there are fogging treatments and other methods that can be used to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito that is responsible for the spread of Zika, as well as Yellow Fever, and Dengue Fever.

The Zika virus is an incurable disease spread through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of the Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Most cases are usually mild with symptoms resolving in less than one week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel alert to areas where the Zika virus is spreading.

How it Spreads

Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The two species responsible for the spread of the virus are the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit the dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever.

  • How do the mosquitoes become infected? The mosquitoes become infected with the Zika virus when they feed on a person who already has the virus. Then the infected mosquito can spread the virus to others through their bites.
  • Where do the Aedes species of mosquitoes live? These mosquitoes lay their eggs near standing water like buckets, bowls, and flower pots.
  • Mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus are more aggressive during the daytime, but still bite at night.

Click here for more information from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the transmission of the Zika virus.

How to Prevent the Zika Virus

When traveling to areas where the Zika virus can be found, the CDC recommends the following steps to prevent the Zika virus:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. - Always follow the product label instructions
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase permethrin-treated items.

Make sure that you are prepared for mosquito season! Retailers such as Johnson & Johnson and Home Depot are building new bug spray displays and stocking up on extra supplies. The makers of Repel and Cutter brand mosquito repellent are dispatching signs, displays, and stickers, as well as expediting new product packaging to ensure consumers are aware of the repellent's effectiveness "on mosquitoes that may carry the Zika virus."

The EPA has approved 74 requests from mosquito-repellent manufacturers to market their products' effectiveness against the Zika virus. There is much concern surrounding the increase in demand for mosquito repellent products. When looking for a repellent to use on skin and clothing, the CDC recommends only these active ingredients as effective mosquito repellents: DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (or its synthetic version known as PMD) and IR3535. Some repellents may wear off in a short amount of time, be sure to read labels carefully and use products as directed.

Thermal Fogging Works!

Fight the Zika virus using dependable foggers and insecticide to eliminate mosquitoes from your backyard.

There are many mosquito control devices on the market available to consumers but there are only a few that work to prevent the Zika virus.

The Burgess Thermal Bug Fogger can be used to prevent the Zika virus. The Burgess Thermal Bug Fogger has been on the market since the late 1960's and has been a dependable tool consumers have relied upon to eliminate biting flies and mosquitoes from their backyard. The Black Flag and Cutter Thermal Bug Foggers are similar to the Burgess with some added convenient features. Both use the same fogging methods and insecticide the professional mosquito abatement districts use to control mosquito populations.

Here is a great video from Texas A&M University's Michael Merchant demonstrating "Backyard Control Options for Mosquitoes".

Map

According to the CDC, "no local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in the United States, but there have been travel-associated cases. With the recent outbreaks, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase."

US states with reported cases of travel-associated Zika virus.

Symptoms and Treatments

Symptoms of the Zika virus typically appear within two to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Those symptoms include headaches, rash, fever, joint pain, and red eyes. You should see your healthcare provider if you develop symptoms associated with Zika virus. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have recently traveled.

Currently, there is no specific treatment or existing vaccination, but vaccine trials in mice and monkeys are showing great promise. Scientists are working on various methods to block transmission of the Zika virus, including using a harmless bacteria found in bees and butterflies called Wolbachia pipientis, that can completely block transmission of Zika in the species of mosquito responsible for passing the virus onto humans. Until then, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and includes rest, rehydration, and medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to treat fever and pain. Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If symptoms worsen, should seek medical care immediately.

Be sure to prevent mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.

Click here for more information from the Mayo Clinic on the symptoms and treatment of the Zika virus.

Conclusion

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