The Zika Virus and How to Avoid It

What Is the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease that has quickly spread through several countries in South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. Its symptoms are usually mild and can include rashes, joint pain, muscle pain, conjunctivitis, fever, headache, and vomiting. However, what has made the virus a worldwide concern is its apparent link with microcephaly, a rare neurological disorder which causes severe developmental issues in babies, particularly their being born with abnormally small heads. Regrettably, this often leads to the infected baby’s mental retardation.

It is classified as a flavivirus, which means that it’s in the same family as dengue, chikungunya, West Nile, and yellow fever. Unlike these viruses however, Zika has no known vaccine or cure.

Where Is the Zika Virus?

As mentioned before, the Zika virus has spread through several countries in South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. This includes Brazil, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Mexico, and the US Virgin Islands to name a few.

According to the CDC, there have been more than 270 Zika virus cases reported in the US, 23 (or around 9 percent) of which were reported in Texas. Should the disease spread as rapidly in the US as it did with the other countries, more than 60 percent of the population might be at risk by living in regions where the virus may spread during warm months, according to an article published in The Lancet, an international medical journal.

How Can You Avoid the Zika Virus?

Because Zika has no known vaccine or cure, the only way to avoid contracting the disease is to protect yourself from mosquitoes. This is especially true if you recently traveled to an in infected region. If you do have to travel to one of these regions, you should take extra precautions to strictly adhere to proven methods for mosquito protection, such insect repellent, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, air-conditioned, and screened rooms.

On the other hand, if you’re staying at home, make sure you keep your doors, windows, and other potential entry points closed. You should also avoid the collection of standing water whenever possible. Periodically empty pet dishes, birdbaths, clogged gutters, flowerpots, and other similar containers.

Last but not least, don’t hesitate to call a pest control company if you think you have a more serious problem. It won’t hurt to have the experts take a look around your property to identify the probable sources of the problem and recommend effective solutions. There are a number of mosquito control treatments on the market, so calling a professional that’s familiar with them will be more than helpful in addressing the situation.