5 Important Questions and Answers on the ZIKA VIRUS
Question 4) What steps can you take to help prevent getting the ZIKA VIRUS?
Mosquito Bite Prevention StrategiesPlease Note: NO method of protection against mosquitoes bites in an area with infected mosquitos can be 100% effective. This list is designed to help reduce the risk of a mosquito bite from an infected mosquito.
1) The CDC recommends that to avoid ZIKA VIRUS infection, that one avoid any unnecessary travel to areas where the virus is actively being transmitted. It is especially critical for pregnant women to stay away from areas with possible infected mosquitoes.
The CDC has a ZIKA Travel Information web page HERE
The WHO publishes its "Latest ZIKA Situation Report" HERE which includes updates to the current knowledge on the ZIKA VIRUS, travel advisories and efforts to eradicate the disease.
The CDC periodically publishes a map of areas known to have mosquitoes infected with the ZIKA VIRUS. Find the current map HERE Below is a recent map from the CDC:
CDC World MAP of Reported Active Cases of Mosquito Transmission of the ZIKA VIRUS(source)
The expanding range of the two species of mosquito that carry the ZIKA VIRUS, combined with the ever widening area reporting active transmission of the disease, makes it easy to understand the urgency with which the CDC and WHO are trying to inform the public and address the ZIKA risk. The areas with active ZIKA VIRUS carrying mosquitos are expected to expand rapidly into the United States and beyond. Further, it is possible that other species of mosquito may also participate in the infection cycle, further expanding the range of the disease.
2) Areas with mosquito populations need to reduce their breeding grounds by removing the standing water sources in which they can lay their eggs such as: ditches, puddles, old tires, buckets, etc. Even an empty can or bottle can become a breeding round for infected mosquitoes. Everyone can help with this effort. The WHO (World Health Organization) reports that once a female mosquito lays its eggs, the eggs can survive up to a year without water. The eggs can then hatch when water, even a small amount of water, is available.
3) Lakes, ponds, swamps, wetlands and wet grassy areas need to be treated with pesticides to help suppress mosquito eggs and larve, and to kill mosquitoes in the air. This is a job for state and local government professionals and contractors to meet environmental and public safety guidlines.
4) Stay indoors to avoid contact with infected mosquitoes, make sure doors windows and screens are sealed tight and without gaps or openings. Use mosquito nets over beds and cribs. Make sure your indoor enviroment is periodically treated with anti mosquito sprays.
5) When outdoors wear clothing to cover and protect your skin, thick enough to prevent a mosquito bite from penetrating, ie long sleeves, long pants, socks, gloves, head and neck covering, etc. Wearable mosquito repellent wrist bands may also help.
6) Use commercial and specialty personal "bug sprays" wisely. Follow manufacturer's instructions. Some forumlations may be potentially dangerous to pregnant women, children and pets, especially long term use. Repellent sprays need to be refreshed per instructions, as their effectiveness wears off over time or in conditions where rain, sweat or bathing has diluted or removed them. Seek out and employ as many natural and more gentle anti mosquito methods as are available, and be sure that they have proven effective.
7) Avoid contact with a possible infected person's bodily fluids. This includes saliva, blood and semen. It is conjectured that even kissing might cause transmission of the disease. Some scientists believe that a man may tranmit the ZIKA VIRUS to his sexual partners during the period when he is infected. It is not known how long the ZIKA VIRUS contagion might persist in a person's system. The fact that the vast majority of individuals who have been exposed to the ZIKA VIRUS are not aware that they have it, further complicates this type of transmission.
Until more is understood about this issue, it is advisable to stay informed and visit the Centers for Disease Control Website for the latest information. See the section News and Info for the latest news, and links to the CDC and WHO websites.
The CDC recommends this web page at the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for research on available insect repellents which might be right for you to use.
Visit the Products and Services section for useful mosquito repellents, natural anti mosquito products, protective clothing and ZIKA VIRUS home test kits (when available).
If you do get a mosquito bite Don't Panic! Seek out your health care professional for advice, possible testing and treatment.