By Michele Dargan, Special Report from the Civic Association. See the Fast Facts below to learn the latest about the Zika Virus and what you can do to prevent infection.
*First discovered in 1947 in Africa, Zika is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito.
*Zika is usually present in the blood of an infected person for a few days during which a mosquito may acquire the infection by bite and possibly transmit the virus by biting another person.
*There is no evidence that Zika is being transmitted by mosquitoes in Florida.
*Recently, there have been cases of travelers infected with the virus, who returned to Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Lee, Santa Rosa and Broward counties from countries where the virus is transmitted.
*Zika is a mild illness that resolves itself within a week. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
*Only about 1-in-5 infected will develop symptoms of fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.
*Reports of birth defects associated with Zika have been made in South America.
*There is no vaccine to prevent, or medicine to treat, Zika.
*Aedes mosquitoes also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
*They breed in water containers as small as a bottle cap.
*They are most active during the day and tend to stay close to their breeding site.
*Because the mosquitoes do not live or breed in large bodies of water, aerial insecticide spraying has a limited effect for controlling populations.
*Wear protective clothing, such as long pants and long-sleeve shirts and apply an approved mosquito repellent, preferable with DEET.
*Remove potential mosquito breeding sites by emptying water from items that can hold water, including flower pots, garbage cans, recycling containers, wheelbarrows, aluminum cans, boat tarps, old tires, toys and buckets.
*Prevent water containers from getting stagnant by flushing ornamental bromeliads, birdbaths and wading pools weekly, clear gutters, change the water in outdoor pet dishes regularly, keep pools and spas chlorinated and filtered, stock ornamental ponds with mosquito-eating fish, cover rain barrels with screening and check for standing water under houses, near plumbing drains, under air conditioner drip areas, around septic tanks and heat pumps.
*Regular pest control companies aren’t equipped to handle these types of mosquitos. If you have concerns about mosquitos on or near your property, contact Palm Beach County Mosquito Control: 561-967-6480
Sources: Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management & US Center for Disease Control