Most Alabama residents have heard of the dreaded Zika virus by now. However, many people do not know exactly what it is, how to identify it or what to do to prevent it. These are all of the must-know facts about Zika virus in Alabama.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, this virus was first identified in the 1940s but was more prevalent in Southeast Asia and Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. Zika virus results in mild symptoms that usually resolve on their own. Although it sounds scary, the virus and disease do not produce effects that are severe enough to require hospitalization. People rarely die from complications of Zika virus.
Zika virus is mainly transmitted by an infected Aedes mosquito to human beings. However, it can be spread through blood transfusions with infected blood or through sexual contact. It can also be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
Zika’s main risk is for pregnant women. The BBC reported on recent data from Brazil that confirmed a connection between Zika virus and birth defects. Zika virus was positively connected to the microcephaly birth defect, which causes a baby to be born with a very small head. This was confirmed by a large number of babies born in Brazil in 2015 with microcephaly after a major Zika virus outbreak in the country.
The symptoms of Zika virus may go undetected in some people since they mimic those of other conditions. Fever, a rash, red eyes and joint pain are the common symptoms, and they usually appear together. The symptoms resolve after several days in most cases, and people who are infected are typically protected from future infections after their initial infection.
At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent the virus. Alabama residents who plan to travel should be aware of Zika virus risk zones. The CDC provides updated lists of these risk zones. Preventing the Zika virus at home can be difficult for Alabama residents. The warm humid climate and bodies of water contribute to bigger mosquito populations.
Mosquito prevention starts with eliminating sources of standing water. Cover or drain pools, spas, fountains and landscaping ponds. Be mindful of pet dishes, leaky sprinkler heads and areas of pooling water after a rain storm. To help prevent mosquito bites, use the following tips:
Keep the indoor air cool and dry.
Keep windows closed and screens in good repair.
Wear long sleeves outdoors at night or in humid areas.
Wear insect repellent with at least 40 percent DEET.
When sleeping outdoors or overseas, take a mosquito bed net.
Purchase permethrin-treated clothing for children who play sports or play outdoors frequently.
While these tips aid in preventing mosquito bites, mosquitoes still exist in nearby areas and will travel. The best way to get rid of a problematic mosquito population or deter them from a property is with a professional pest control treatment plan. Only professionals have the right substances and personalized treatment plans to maximize mosquito prevention. For a free estimate, contact MosquitoNix today.