The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness, spread to humans mainly through mosquito bites. The primary species of mosquitoes that transmit this disease are the Aedes Aegypti and the Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger Mosquito), the same mosquito that spreads the dengue fever and yellow fever. Zika can also be transmitted from human to human through unprotected sex with an infected person, or from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus.
The Zika virus is predominantly found in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Recent outbreaks are occurring in the Americas, especially Brazil and Northeast South America, the Caribbean and Mexico.
A few years ago, Zika started making headlines across the United States, but luckily, cases have significantly dropped since then. It became a nationally notifiable condition in 2016 when it hit its peak at 5,168 symptomatic Zika virus disease cases reported, but the majority of them (4,897) were in travelers returning from affected areas. In 2017, cases dropped to 433 across the United States, and as of March 7, 2018, only 10 cases have been reported in our country, all from people who travelled to affected areas. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).) But that’s not to say it’s completely eradicated here.
The CDC had considered Brownsville, Texas and Miami Dade County, Florida higher risk areas for Zika in 2016, but as of summer of 2017, the travel precautions to those areas were lifted. While the Asian Tiger mosquito can be found across the United States, the risk of mosquito-transmitted Zika virus in Chicago and Illinois as a whole are very low. According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2016 there were 23 confirmed cases of Zika in Illinois, all of which were infected while traveling.
While it’s good to know that the risks for Zika are low here, that doesn’t mean one should let their guard down, especially if they’re pregnant or trying to conceive. Where Zika becomes more dangerous is in pregnant women. There’s been a link between being infected with Zika while pregnant and babies born with microencephaly, which is an abnormal smallness of a baby’s head. This has the potential to lead to severe brain damage, along with seizures, intellectual disability, hearing and vision loss.
Only about 20% of patients with Zika virus will even notice symptoms, which can include muscle pain, headache, fever, joint pain, rash or conjunctivitis (pinkeye). These symptoms can last from a few days to a week and are generally mild.
Unfortunately, there is no known vaccine or treatment for Zika virus. and the best way to prevent getting Zika is prevention and avoiding getting bitten by an infected mosquito in the first place.
Mosquito Squad’s barrier control treatment can eliminate up to 90% of mosquitoes from your property, and by having our professionals treat your yard once every 21 days, you can rest assured your family and pets are protected all season long. In addition to our barrier treatment, we also offer automatic misting systems that release a treatment 2 to 4 times a day for 30-second intervals (or at the push of a button with the included remote control).
Contact Mosquito Squad of Central Illinois to protect you and your family from mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases today. Give us a call at 217-919-9292, click “Get a Free Quote” at the top, or drop us a line via the contact form on our home page. No matter how we get in touch, we look forward to helping you out!(For more information on the Zika virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Zika Information Site and/or the City of Chicago’s Zika Information Site.)