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What is Zika & How Bad Is It?

Zika virus has certainly captured the spotlight - especially here in Florida. This mosquito-borne illness that has been causing deep concern in southern nations has now been confirmed to be spreading locally in mosquito populations here. The problem doesn’t come from the untold numbers that contract this disease with little to no sickness. In fact, most people who contract this particular virus will experience little to no effect at all. Mild flu-like symptoms is pretty much the worst to expect – unless you are pregnant. 

How is Zika Transmitted?

Let’s begin by defining exactly how the Zika virus is transmitted. The Zika virus is most commonly acquired through the bite of an infected mosquito. According to the CDC while rare it is also possible to spread the virus from infected mother to her baby around the time of birth or from infected mother to baby during a pregnancy. Reports have also surfaced showing the possibility that the virus can be spread through blood transfusions and sexual contact. It is thought that only 1 in 5 people that are infected with the virus will show symptoms; from the CDC symptoms can include fever, rash, vomiting, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.

How Dangerous is Zika?

It seems that the spotlight is focused on Zika, and for good reason. However, mosquitoes are vectors for much more than just Zika, and these other diseases can cause severe illness in all demographics. While Zika virus is certainly worthy of concern and all the attention it is getting, we can’t forget about these other diseases. While West Nile Virus, Dengue fever, chikungunya, and malaria have somewhat faded into the background in the eye of the media, they are still very much a threat and are much more widespread here in the U.S. than Zika.

Zika is more important to focus on for pregnant women since this disease has a much more dramatic effect on unborn babies. It is capable of causing microcephaly in these developing little people. This condition causes abnormally small heads and disrupts the development of the brain making it much smaller as well.

How to Protect Yourself from Zika:

  • Avoid going outside in the morning and evening when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Make sure all the screens in your home are in perfect working condition.
  • Don't have bug zappers around your home. These attract mosquitoes, but are only effective at killing male (non-biting) mosquitoes.
  • Use large fans on outside decks to push mosquitoes away.
  • Wear mosquito repellent with DEET or a natural oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible.
  • For added protection, invest in a bug net for around your bed. It may seem drastic, but this is not a virus to take lightly.
  • Watch the news to hear if Zika starts to move through local mosquito populations.

How Can Mosquitoes Be Limited?

The best way to protect your family from mosquitoes and any diseases that they can potentially spread including the Zika virus is by controlling the numbers living and breeding on your property. At Hoffer Pest we can help through our safe and very effective mosquito control services, our most comprehensive plan is a year-round service that includes monthly treatments. By lowering the number of mosquitoes buzzing around your property, you are helping to lower the chances of being infected with a virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes.

For more information about all of our mosquito control service options in order to lower mosquito numbers on your property, contact Hoffer Pest today.