PELHAM, NY—Warmer spring weather is wonderful but it also means the start of mosquito season and a heightened threat of contracting one of several diseases spread by mosquitoes. That includes the Zika virus and the West Nile virus. Here are some facts about Zika and mosquitoes from the Westchester County Department of Health.
The department also offers some tips on preventing mosquito infestation to minimize the risk of mosquito bites.
What is Zika?
Zika is a virus that is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
How is Zika virus transmitted?
The most common way that Zika virus is transmitted is through mosquito bites. Zika virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. It is also possible for the virus to be spread through sexual contact and blood.
Who is at risk for infection with Zika virus?
Anyone who is living in or traveling to an area where Zika virus is found is at risk for infection. However, pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant are of special concern because Zika can cause birth defects.
Where is Zika virus spreading?
Zika is affecting parts of Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and other places listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
Because specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are difficult to determine and likely to change over time, CDC will update its travel notice as information becomes available. Check the CDC travel website frequently for the most up-to-date recommendations.
Are mosquitoes spreading Zika virus in the United States?
Cases of locally acquired mosquito transmitted Zika virus have been reported in Florida. However, Zika virus is not spreading in Westchester County and the type of mosquito linked to the current outbreak, the Aedes aegypti, has not been found here. A different mosquito that may carry Zika is sometimes found in Westchester and the surrounding area during the summer months. This mosquito is called Aedes albopictus and health experts are still learning whether it is likely to spread Zika to people.
What are the symptoms of Zika virus infection?
About one in five people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected.
Symptoms usually begin two to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). See your
healthcare provider if you develop these symptoms and have visited an area where Zika is found. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
What should I do if I have Zika?
Treat the symptoms:
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
- Take medicine such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce fever and pain
- Do not take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
To help prevent others from getting sick, avoid mosquito bites during the first week of illness. During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in a person's blood. The virus can be passed from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
Is there a vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika?
No. There is no vaccine to prevent infection or medicine to treat Zika.
How can I protect myself and my family from Zika and other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes?
Avoid mosquito bites. For mosquito bite prevention tips, you can download the Keep Healthy and Bug Off brochure. When traveling to countries where Zika virus (see map) or other viruses spread by mosquitoes are found, take the following steps:
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535. Always use as directed.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women can use all EPA-registered insect repellents, including DEET, according to the product label.
- Most repellents, including DEET, can be used on children aged >2 months.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself.
- Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
- Use a mosquito bed-net if you cannot keep mosquitoes out of your residence. Cover cribs, strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting too.
- Remove common backyard mosquito sources such as old tires, buckets, wheelbarrows, toys and other items from your property that can collect water.
- Cover outdoor trash containers to keep rainwater from accumulating inside.
- Keep your gutters clear.
- Keep your property clear of objects or debris that can hold even tiny amounts of water.
- Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are left outdoors.
- Drain water in birdbaths, plant pots and drip trays twice a week.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty and covered if not in use; drain water that collects on their covers.
Is it safe to use an insect repellent if I am pregnant or nursing?
Yes. Using an insect repellent is safe and effective. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding can and should choose an EPA-registered insect repellent and use it according to the product label.
I am pregnant. How will Zika virus affect me or my unborn baby?
Zika can cause microcephaly and result in other poor outcomes in babies of mothers who were
infected with the virus while pregnant. For this reason, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant:
- Pregnant women in any trimester should avoid travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who do travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip and to prevent sexual transmission of Zika virus.
- Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare provider before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites.
New York State has a Zika virus information line (888) 364-4723 to answer questions about the virus. The service is free and phone lines are staffed weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Source : https://patch.com/new-york/pelham/what-pelham-residents-should-know-zika-mosquito-season1349