Despite Predicted Slow Down During Winter Season, Zika Continues to be a Plague

The Zika virus is mainly transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito. But, Florida Department of Health Secretary Celeste Philip says there are not well-researched protocols for how to get rid of the mosquito.

So far, the state has confirmed about 1,300 Zika cases. That includes cases considered travel-related, locally acquired via Florida mosquitoes, and involving pregnant women.

History of Zika

Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.

How to prevent Zika

There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Here’s how

Clothing

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items.

Insect repellent

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients:
    DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Always follow the product label instructions.
  • When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old.
  • Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old.

At Home

  • Stay in places with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Take steps to control mosquitoes inside and outside your home.
  • Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.