As you may recall, the recent Zika outbreak caused some panic throughout the world, especially in countries like Brazil and the US. With the ability the spread from mother to fetus and to spread through human contact – not just through mosquitoes – Zika caused reason for concern and immediate action.
Just as the West Nile Virus (WNV), Zika has relatively mild to no symptoms including headache, join/muscle pain, fever, red eyes and rash. Very rarely does it end fatally, but the concern surrounding this virus was the mother to fetus infection. If an expecting mother contracts Zika during pregnancy it can cause various birth defects such as microcephaly which causes a much smaller head size after birth an underdeveloped brain. Microcephaly also has the potential to be accompanied by other minor and/or major birth defects. Infection in pregnant women can also lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.
Like other mosquito borne illness, it can be difficult to track and remove an outbreak because many people will have no symptoms or experience symptoms easily confused with something else. As of November 2020, in the USVI, there’s no evidence of the spread of Zika and it is something carefully monitored since 2016-2017 that gets better with time, knowledge and resources.
Zika was first identified in 1947 and then, shortly after, the first human infection was in 1952. Since then, Zika has spread to southeast Asia, Pacific Islands and tropical parts of Africa. The most recent outbreaks were in 2007 and then again in 2016 when birth defects like microcephaly were confirmed by WHO. Thus, Zika was declared a matter of international concern, especially with increasing global temperatures.
So, to best protect yourself and take caution, here are a few guidelines you may or may not know by heart. Wear full coverage clothing! Make sure legs, arms, neck etc. are covered and use a mosquito net around your sleeping quarters in areas of the country who have declared a Zika outbreak. If pregnant and traveling, make sure to check places like WHO and the CDC’s website to confirm if there are outbreaks or warnings. Since our community is in an area of concern, reach out to Mosquito Magnet of the Caribbean to get further info on our guaranteed, eco-friendly mosquito removal machines and take advantage of our discounts and promotions. You can never be too safe!