Zika Virus Update
Most of our Members are already aware of the rapidly expanding outbreak of the Zika Virus in the Americas and Caribbean. Information related to countries with an outbreak changes nearly on a daily basis. Therefore our members are encouraged to consult the CDC website (cdc.gov) for the most up-to-date travel information.
Zika is a virus (similar to Dengue and West Nile viruses) primarily transmitted through mosquito bites, and was first isolated in 1947 in a Ugandan forest bearing the same name. There has been a recent confirmation of transmission through sexual activity with a male who was displaying active symptoms of recent infection after returning from travel to a country with an ongoing known outbreak. There is also known maternal-fetal transmission which is thought to be causing the increased incidence of miscarriage and birth defects (microcephaly) in affected countries.
Currently, there is no vaccine for disease prevention, and there is no specific treatment available. Only about 20% of infected people will display symptoms within 2 to 12 days, which can include: low grade fever, rash, joint pains of the hands and feet, and conjunctivitis. There are also rare cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurologic disorder that can cause paralysis and death. Blood tests are available to establish the diagnosis.
Prevention of infection is obviously vital. Postponing travel, currently recommended for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, is highly advisable. If postponing travel is not possible, then protective measures such as long sleeved shirts and pants, DEET-based insect repellant, permethrin treated clothing, and staying indoors in air conditioned spaces is highly advised. You can get our mosquito related travel recommendations here: Travel Protection Tips.
It is not clear how quickly the virus is cleared from the body. It is thought within about 2 weeks, an adequate immune response has been achieved and the risk to a fetus substantially diminished. However, there is some controversy over the data that has shown viruses like Zika (West Nile, for example) may persist for much longer, even without active symptoms or illness. Women of childbearing age would therefore be strongly advised to consult with their obstetrician if they have travelled to an area with an active outbreak (with or without symptoms). Since there has also been transmission via sexual activity, barrier protection for at least a few weeks is advised for males returning from an area with an active outbreak. The CDC also recommends that males returning from an area with an outbreak use barrier protection for the duration of the pregnancy should his partner be pregnant. Couples should consult with their obstetrician for possible increased ultrasound surveillance and/or amniocentesis for pregnancies that occur after travel by either sexual partner to an area with an outbreak of Zika.
The good news is that your yard is being protected by Mr. Mister Mosquito Control. We have been asked about changes to our service as a result of Zika. Because Mr. Mister already does everything possible to protect your yard from mosquitoes, we do not have to change our service model to accommodate the Zika Virus. If you are pregnant, or thinking about getting pregnant, we can move you to a 14-day ClearZone treatment schedule to ensure that there are no gaps in coverage. Please let us know if you’d like to consider that option.
We will keep you updated as there is more information. We encourage you to follow us on Facebook as we post frequent Zika updates and other important information there.