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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Zika Virus Information and CDC Alert

                The Zika Virus has certainly been making news of late.  Here I am passing forward the latest and best information I have on the subject.  At the very least, I view this as good educational information that will help us in our travels and possibly back home.  The following is from a U.S. Center for Disease Control travel alert:
Zika Virus Alert

January 18, 2016

The U.S. Center for Disease Control CDC has issued a travel alert related to Zika virus.
Zika is an illness caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes mosquito (which also transmits Dengue). It is present in tropical zones across the globe, including the Americas. Zika is not transmitted from human to human.
Only 1 in 5 patients exposed to Zika develop symptoms which are usually mild. Common symptoms are fever, joint pains, rash, conjunctivitis (red eyes) as well as headache or muscle aches.  The illness lasts up to a week and resolves spontaneously.  Serious illness is very uncommon.
Zika appears to pose a risk for pregnant patients. It is associated with certain fetal malformations.
The CDC recommends that pregnant patients at any stage of pregnancy or those intending to become pregnant should consider deferring travel to affected areas.
Prevention: There is no vaccine to prevent Zika.  Travelers are advised to take general measures to avoid mosquito borne diseases:
§  Use DEET containing insect repellant. According to the CDC, DEET is safe in pregnancy.
§  Wear long sleeves and leggings
§  Use screens and insect repellant impregnated mosquito nets or tents.
§  Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active.
If you think you may be pregnant and may have been exposed through travel and have any of the symptoms, you should see you doctor immediately.

Areas affected

Most tropical zones have reported Zika outbreaks.  The official CDC Level 2 advisory applies to:
§  Puerto Rico
§  Mexico
§  Central America
§  South America tropical zones, including Brazil
Specific emphasis is placed on Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and Venezuela.

            With spring and summer will come mosquito season.  While the fear of this new to us virus is likely greater than the actual danger, it does sound like something we would want to avoid.  For a review of mosquito IPM, please revisit the May 16, 2013 Plains Pest Bugoshere Blog “Controlling Mosquitoes Through IPM.”


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