People are often scared of what they don’t know. New diseases seem to be emerging all of the time to scare the pants off the masses, and one of those diseases is the Zika virus. You’ve probably heard of Zika by now – a virus spread by mosquitoes with a detrimental impact on women who are pregnant and their unborn babies. There’s not doubt that all the headlines make for some scary stuff, but should you be worried about Zika or not?
Zika: An Explosive Disease?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared Zika to be spreading at an alarming rate. Even though it may be a new and scary virus to you, the truth is that it’s been around for quite some time, silently brewing until the influx in cases the world has recently seen.
The first time anyone was able to isolate the Zika virus was in 1947 in the African nation of Uganda, off the shores of Lake Victoria in a small corner of the world called the Zika Forest. A monkey was caught in a cage and this virus was found in its blood – so it was called Zika. It was soon after identified in mosquitoes around the area and spread from there throughout Africa and Asia.
Fast forward to 2007 and the Zika virus infected a hundred people on a small island in the Pacific called Yap. It somehow was brought there from the mainland of Asia, and six years later it emerged in French Polynesia, impacting about 28,000 people. Of those affected, 72 patients saw complications that served as a warning to the medical community that Zika may be more serious than previously thought.
When Zika came to Brazil, it became the headline it is today. When it got to the South American mainland, it became clear that Zika was having a dire impact on the babies born to mothers infected. These babies were born with small heads and many suffered incomplete brain development too. While no one has been able to prove a connection between Zika and birth defects, there is cause for concern that the two may be linked and scientists are working hard to figure out how Zika affects pregnant women and their unborn babies.
Should You Be Concerned?
The Aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for carrying the Zika virus, and they are found in many areas of the United States. Experts warn it will spread to North America, which the exception of Chile and Canada where the weather is too cold. It has already spread to many countries in South, Central, and North America, so it’s a virus that needs to be on everyone’s radar, especially if you’re planning to travel to areas where outbreaks have occurred.
As of now, you need to take measures that will keep mosquitoes from reproducing around your property. Make sure you don’t let any water, no matter how small of an amount, stand on your property where mosquitoes can reproduce. Also, make sure you take precautions when you’re outside to wear protective clothing and bug spray. You need to also ensure your windows and doors have a screen that mosquitoes can’t penetrate.