Zika Situation Report: June 2016

Post of Zika Situation Report: June 2016

As a mosquito control expert, Mosquito Joe is making an effort to provide continuously updated information about the ongoing Zika virus situation in the U.S. and around the world.  Our Zika Virus Information Page contains more details about the mosquito-borne illness, but there are many other updates to do with transmission, areas where the virus is spreading, available resources, and scientific research that are important to disperse as well.  We encourage you to check our blog continuously along with our website and Facebook page for the most current information about Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses.

Transmission and Areas Effected

  • There have been no major updates within the last couple of months in the ways Zika is transmitted.  The virus is predominantly spread via an infected Aedes mosquito.  However, it can also be sexually transmitted from an infected male to his partner during unprotected sex, and there have been multiple cases in Brazil of Zika spreading via blood transfusion.  Most notably, Zika can be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her child during pregnancy and/or childbirth, which can lead to microcephaly or Guillain-Barre syndrome.
  • There has been a second case of a baby born with microcephaly in the U.S., this time in New Jersey.  The mother was infected with Zika in Honduras, but traveled to the U.S. where she has family and the opportunity for better medical care.
  • As of June 15, 2016, there are 755 reported cases of travel-related Zika virus in the United States, 234 of them are pregnant women, 11 of them sexually transmitted, and 3 of them resulting in microcephaly or Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  There are still no locally transmitted cases, although Zika is expected to arrive in the U.S. within the following month.

Response

  • There is still no federal funding in place to combat Zika virus as Congress is currently working to reconcile two separate bills, a $1.1 billion version passed by the Senate and a $622 million version passed by the House which simply re-allocated funding meant to fight Ebola.
  • In the meantime, the White House and CDC have released a national Zika response plan to help state officials best handle the situation.  Although the plan has not been released to the public, it “includes detailed guidance about the protocol for federal and state officials when Zika spreads to the U.S. for the first time.”
  • As one of the leading health experts in the country, the CDC is not only tracking the spread of the disease but is also doing its best to predict the range of impact Zika will have in the U.S.  The most recent vector surveillance maps estimate the range of mosquitoes that transmit Zika could reach the entire width of the country and as far north as New Hampshire.

Resources

  • The CDC has created a “Zika and Sexual Transmission” webpage that serves as a comprehensive resource with information about transmission, prevention techniques, and advice for couples trying to get pregnant.  There is information about getting tested along with several infographics targeted towards expectant mothers and men with pregnant partners.
  • On a similar note, the CDC also created a webpage dedicated to providing parents with information on how to talk to their children about Zika, signs to watch out for, and tips for controlling mosquitoes at home.
  • As Zika moves closer to the United States, the CDC is working to amplify resources for pregnant women living in effected areas.  This Zika Prevention Kit  and tips for pregnant women in areas with Zika are great tools to make sure you have everything at your disposal to keep those mosquitoes away; i.e. netting, sprays, water treatment tabs, etc.
  • MothertoBaby is an alternative resource sponsored by the CDC.  It is “the nation’s leading authority and most trusted source of evidence-based information on the safety of medications and other exposures during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.  MothertoBaby provides pregnant mothers access to health experts on an immediate and personal basis.
  • Lastly, the CDC has established a U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, working with state, local, and tribal organizations to “collect information about pregnancy and infant outcomes following laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. The data collected through this registry will be used to update recommendations for clinical care, to plan for services for pregnant women and families affected by Zika virus, and to improve prevention of Zika virus infection during pregnancy. “

While we are not health experts, we are experts in mosquito control.  We feel it is part of our job and contribution to the larger community to provide these updates on a potentially very dangerous situation. Please call your local Mosquito Joe to find out how we can provide you with an added layer of defense against mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika virus.  And as always, check back for new information as the situation develops.

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