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Zika Virus and Mosquito Transmission

Posted on Jul 25, 2016 by: Scott West

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Everyone has probably heard of the Zika virus by now. It’s not new to the world, but the spread of Zika has apparently increased over the past decade.

Zika’s effects are mild compared to other mosquito-borne viruses like dengue, West Nile, and yellow fever. Only one in five people infected with the virus experience symptoms, such as fever, joint pain, itchy eyes, and a rash. Symptoms begin 2-7 days after infection. Some may have more severe symptoms, including temporary or permanent paralysis.

Even more concerning is the potential impact to pregnant women; Zika causes birth defects in babies, including microcephaly, a condition in which the fetal brain and head do not fully develop. For more information on Zika, see http://vitalrecord.tamhsc.edu/zika360

As of now, there are no known cases of Zika spread by local mosquitos in Texas. However, as more people infected with Zika come to Texas, the probability of an infected person spreading the disease to mosquitos and then reversing the process grows. The CDC and local health authorities advise using the same precautions that you would for any protection from mosquito-borne illnesses:

  • Eliminate all standing water around your residence
  • When spending time outdoors, especially in areas with mosquitos, use bug repellant
  • When traveling in Central or South America, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants

If we want to decrease the odds of Zika spreading in the U.S., it’s important to do our part to keep from being a carrier!