Mosquito Zika Virus Infection Threat and Prevention
Mosquito prevention—the key to beating the Zika virus
Without a doubt, scientists across the world are hard at work trying to come up with a vaccine that will eradicate the emerging threat that is the Zika virus. However, the threat is present right now and there's no guarantee that the vaccine will make it in time—in fact, there isn't one that's undergoing trials right now, so a vaccine is still a long way from reality.
What is a great way to make sure you or your loved ones won't fall prey to this dreaded disease? If you answered mosquito prevention, then you're absolutely right! After all, the primary carrier of the disease is a certain type of mosquito.
You already need to be wary of mosquitoes, anyway, because these insects can carry a variety of diseases, which include dengue fever and the West Nile virus, among others. In fact, the same mosquito that carries dengue—the Aedes mosquito—is the one identified most as the carrier of the Zika virus. Blergh.
That said, you'll find some great tips for making sure your home won't be shared by a swarm of mosquitoes.
Standing water has to be eliminated
This is the core of every mosquito prevention method, because there's no use doing anything else if mosquitoes can just breed in whichever puddle or bucket they want.
Aedes mosquitoes are well-adapted to urban environments, so you can rest assured they'll find even the most harmless bottle cap that's somehow filled with water and make it a spawning point. What more if you've got buckets of water lying around, or if your house doesn't have the necessary fixtures to divert rainwater away from the premises?
Proper inspection of each home should be done in order to see whether or not there may be places that can harbor mosquitoes and their eggs.
Wide-scale mosquito spraying isn't really all that effective against the Aedes variety, but fumigation helps clear homes of mosquitoes and is still one of the go-to moves for mosquito control. In case you go this route, make sure you're getting a licensed operator because you're dealing with poisonous chemicals over there.
If you can find a vendor in your area, check out what citronella products are available. Citronella is an essential oil that is obtained from lemongrass, and it is one of the most popular and most effective natural insect repellents. It's even used as an ingredient in many commercial repellants.
The US EPA categorizes citronella as a biopesticide that has a non-toxic mode of action. Citronella formulas are typically applied onto the skin and should be good for 30 minutes to an hour. You can also opt to just have a citronella plant—it's a nice grass like plant that can reach a height of over 5 feet. When getting a citronella plant, make sure you are really getting true citronella and not just plants that come with a 'citronella scent'.
Now that you're armed with ways on how to keep your place mosquito-free, you can rest easy knowing that the Zika virus won't be something you'd have to face. This virus is no laughing matter, and everyone will need to be vigilant in order to prevent this disease from spreading any more than it has.