Zika Mosquito Control
Zika Virus—the emerging threat
In recent months, perhaps the biggest health scare making headlines across the world is the Zika Virus. The doubts have only been cleared recently, after the virus outbreak that started in 2013 and culminating in Zika reaching pandemic levels late last year.
What is the Zika virus?
The fever that comes with a Zika virus infection isn't such a big problem—it's milder than dengue fever and can be treated simply by resting. However, it does become a threat because the virus is transmitted from pregnant mothers to the fetus in their wombs.
The virus is transmitted by the same kind of carrier of the dreaded dengue virus—the Aedes mosquito, particularly A. aegypti as well as A. albopictus. These mosquitoes are prevalent in tropical countries and already notorious as vector for transmission of dengue, which is why the added Zika virus makes it all the more threatening.
What does it do?
It's not so much how the virus affects the infected at the moment, but rather what happens in the aftermath that makes it really bad. This mosquito-borne virus has been affecting pregnant mothers across continents, resulting in a defect in newborns called microcephaly, as well as other brain anomalies.
At the moment, the extent of the kind of anomalies caused by the Zika virus is not completely known. In addition, there is also nothing conclusive yet as to whether what kind of other risk factors lead to certain outcomes. For example, it has not yet been established whether or not a mother's stage of pregnancy affects the development of brain anomalies in the fetus.
In adults, apart from causing Zika fever, the virus can cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, an immune dysfunction in which there is rapid-onset weakness of the muscles due to the body's own immune system attacking peripheral nerves mistakenly.
The main course of action when it comes to preventing the Zika virus from infecting you or the people in your home is to make sure the space is not full of mosquitoes. Here are some of the main measures for mosquito prevention:
- Removal of standing water from gutters, tires, buckets, drums, flower pots, and other containers around the house to make sure there are no breeding grounds for mosquitoes within your area
- Got a swimming pool? Keep it clean and well-maintained. If you notice any abandoned pools in the neighborhood, you can file a report at the nearest health department office
- If you fear that mosquitoes could still get inside the house, you can install screens on doors and windows for an second layer of security
- Have an appropriate insect repellent handy. There are numerous natural mosquito repellents you can get for your home, or you could opt for commercial options
The Zika virus is indeed fearsome and is a great threat to humanity. As such, it is important that we all recognize the threat it poses and do our due diligence by reading up on the facts and knowing how we can prevent it from affecting us and our loved ones.