While we use our blog to keep you up-to-date on the variety of mosquito-borne & tick-borne diseases in the Central Massachusetts area, the Zika Virus, like Lyme Disease deserves its own web page. Read on to get the basic facts about what Zika Virus is, how it is spread and the potential health complications the virus can cause. Keep in mind, information is changing constantly and our mosquito blog is the best way to get the latest Zika news.
Mosquitoes are the primary vector of the Zika Virus. Humans can become infected by the bite of an infected Aedes Aegypti or Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquito. Zika is also transmitted through sexual contact, from mother to child during pregnancy and/or childbirth, through blood transfusions and through laboratory exposure.
The CDC reports 2,687 travel-related Zika cases in the U.S. and 35 locally acquired cases of Zika. (As of August 31,2016) Florida is suffering from all 35 cases of locally transmitted Zika cases, while here in Massachusetts there are 65 travel-related cases.
Once infected, a human can pass the virus back to other mosquitoes during the first week to 10 days and should avoid exposure to mosquitoes if infected. This transfer back to mosquitoes, like Malaria, could cause the Zika Virus to spread rapidly. With Zika Virus being spread through sexual intercourse, it is important that those who have been exposed to Zika Virus take extra precautions and follow the CDC’s recommendations.
The Zika Virus is easily spread with its 80% asymptomatic infection. With only 20% of Zika Virus carriers experiencing symptoms, there is an increased possibility of those who don’t know they’re infected passing it on to others and to more mosquitoes. Those who experience symptoms usually become ill with mild flu-like symptoms such as muscle pain, joint pain, fever, headache, rash or conjunctivitis and usually pass within a week.
The mild symptoms of Zika Virus can be deceiving in that new scientific discoveries are linking Zika Virus to a variety of dangerous health complications. Zika Virus was brought to the world stage because of a link between Zika in pregnancy and microcephaly in newborns. The scientific community has since announced it to be more than a link and Zika has now been confirmed as the cause of microcephaly and other birth defects in infants whose mother became infected during pregnancy.
Asian Tiger Mosquito
Microcephaly brought Zika into the hands of scientists whose hard work has uncovered more health complications linked to the Zika Virus. While more studies are needed to be conclusive, dangerous health complications linked to Zika include more birth defects, fetal death, Guillain-Barre and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Both Guillain-Barre and ADEM are autoimmune diseases that can cause serious disruptions in a person’s life, affecting non-pregnant men, women and children.
There is no vaccine or cure for Zika Virus. While your body awaits the virus to run its course, your doctor can help you manage symptoms. If you’re pregnant or experience more severe symptoms your doctor can guide you through necessary monitoring and treatments. Until a vaccine is developed and more information is known, the key to managing Zika Virus is prevention. Avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites is the best way to avoid all mosquito-borne diseases.
We are committed to providing you the best information for staying up-to-date on the threat of mosquito-borne illnesses in the Central Massachusetts area on our blog. Don’t forget, to limit the population of mosquitoes on your property, follow the 5T’s of mosquito control.
Aedes Aegypti Mosquito