Spending time outdoors is enjoyable and healthy, but mosquitoes can spoil the fun by putting you at risk for harmful infections. Several mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile and chikungunya, have been widespread for many years. Unfortunately, people often get the impression that they are immune from the dangers of mosquitoes when they never get sick after hearing about mosquito-borne viruses on a recurring basis for decades. The Zika virus is a new condition carried by mosquitoes that has a high mortality rate and the potential to cause acute birth defects. To understand the full implications of threats posed by Zika, you should take the time to learn how the virus has been spreading in recent years.

The Spread of Zika

Zika first became a serious concern when it began to spread at a rapid rate in 2015. The virus took only a couple of months to spread across the continental U.S., and it is now in every country around the world. When Zika first emerged, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued warnings to alert the general public about the new threat. Some projections in 2015 predicted that Zika would impact millions of U.S residents, but the virus was successfully kept under control. There have, however, been 5,658 cases of Zika in the U.S. since 2015. The number of annual cases is unlikely to decline in future years due to the difficulty associated with eradicating mosquito populations.

Dangers of Zika

Zika is dangerous because it can cause severe health problems. The immediate symptoms of Zika are similar to the common flu, so many people who catch the virus believe they have an ordinary illness. Severe symptoms associated with Zika, however, are not normally noticed until months or years after a patient becomes infected. In the long run, patients can experience acute symptoms, such as brain damage and reduced motor function. Mothers who catch Zika can pass on birth defects to newborn babies, and many of these infants begin their lives with deformed skulls that can lead to premature death.

Preventing Zika

There is a vaccine for Zika, but the CDC has not approved it for the general population. Until you can get an immunization to protect yourself from Zika, preventative measures are the best way to protect yourself. Zika can only be spread by mosquitoes and direct contact with the bodily fluids of an affected patient. The most effective way to protect yourself from Zika, therefore, is to avoid mosquito bites when you go outside. You should use repellents to discourage mosquitoes from biting your skin, and you should also drain standing water on your property to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. MosquitoNix can use professional pest control methods to eliminate mosquitoes on your property and prevent them from coming back.