Since Zika began a notable outbreak in South America in December 2015, an updated census of arborvirus records in the U.S. caused the CDC to expand the list of states where Aedes aegypti are present from 12 to 30. At the same time, doctors and researchers have learned of new complications it presents for unborn babies of infected mothers.
Since then, we have also come to understand the transmission routes of Zika to be greater than any other vector borne disease - 5 transmission routes. In mid July 2016, the first case of female to male sexual transmission was confirmed. Now, to add complexity, researchers in Brazil have discovered the virus in the wild population of Culex. This requires additional study to understand IF a Culex species will be able to transmit to humans.
With these new discoveries about Zika, our biggest challenge, as an industry and a public, is education about Zika and suppression of the speices we know to be competent vectors: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Here are the basics citizens need to know.
Zika is a virus transmitted by the bite of a mosquito to humans and from human to human. Only 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will show symptoms such as fever, rash and joint pain. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in babies who contracted the virus while still in their mother's womb. The CDC is also investigating a correlation of Zika with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system.
First - are you in a risk zone? Aedes species are not everywhere. There are two species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus that to the best of current knowledge are the only species capable of actively vectoring, or transmitting, the Zika virus.
Humans are reservoirs and can transmit Zika. This bears repeating. With nearly all other mosquito borne viruses humans are 'dead end' hosts, and do not transmit virus. Not the case with Zika. If infected with Zika, people can transmit Zika four ways:
Both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus like to lay eggs in very small amounts of water. That is how they earned their 'container breeder' nickname - you can find their eggs in items as small as a bottle cap. They love standing water, therefore any type of container is a potential breeding site, e.g. trays of flower pots, bird baths, standing water in gutters, downspout drains, uncovered rain barrels, still ponds, junk piles.
They also like to live in residential areas and bite during the day . . . just the opposite of the night-biting mosqutioes that can carry West Nile virus.
In fact, Aedes aegypti prefer to rest inside at night. Leave your garage door up? That's a wide open invitation to Ae. aegypti. Carports, sheds and other out buildings are all desired resting spots too.
If you live in an area where Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus are found, you need to do your part to keep your property free of potential breeding sites. Remember - these species like to lay eggs in as little as a teaspoon of water and can hatch in just 3 to 4 days. More importantly, the Aedes mosquitoes that breed in your yard generally stay near your yard - reducing breeding spots helps protect your family.
Be Zika free, check every three.
Every three days, residents should check their yards for potential breeding sites.
Tip and toss water found in:
|Remove trash or junk from yard that can hold water:
|Check gutters and drain tubes (especially ridged tubing)
Treat rain barrels with a larvicide from hardware store or nursery
Want to know more about Zika?
For travel advisories and more go to the CDC website for Zika.