How Do Mosquitoes Spread Zika virus?
Zika Virus – by Guest writer – Sarah Snyder-Castañeda
There are a lot of things to take into account when answering the question, how do mosquitoes spread the Zika virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito.
To help eliminate the chance of catching the virus, spraying for bugs around your home is essential every 6 months minimally. However, what most people don’t realize is that this can also be carried out by a various number of transmissions outside of a mosquito bite such as from mother to child, through sexual contact, or blood transfusion. But the question remains, what is the Zika virus and how does it spread?
What is Zika Virus?
First discovered in the Zika Forest of Uganda in 1947, the virus has been reported in various tropical environments around the world including Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, Caribbean, and Africa.
With fewer than 1,000 cases per year in the United States, the Zika virus has been reported as extremely rare, however, it’s expected to spread to new areas of safety precautions are not met.
Common Zika Symptoms
Believe it or not, people don’t usually get ill enough to go to the hospital after being infected by the Zika virus as the illness is usually mild, lasting anywhere from several days to a week, and very rarely die from being infected. Some of the most common symptoms would be a developing rash, fever, red eyes, and joint pain.
However, if you are unfortunate to be infected while pregnant, you do stand a risk of having your pregnancy being affected by a serious birth defect called microcephaly, among other fetal brain defects. However, you can rest assured knowing that once a person has been infected, the risk of that same person being affected again is extremely low.
Types of Mosquitoes
Did you know that there are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes reported, with 175 of them living in the United States? With the Culex pipiens, Aedes albopictus, Anopheles quad iMac latus, and Aedes aegypti being the most common, Texas holds 85 different species of mosquitoes while Florida comes in a close second at 80 identified species.
Also, only the females of these species are known to feast on human blood. The reason for this is that most mosquitoes breed year round and, in order for her eggs to fully develop (after all, mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs at a time), she needs the extra protein found in blood to ensure a healthy development.
How you can help get rid of mosquitos
There’s a lot that can be done when repelling mosquitoes from your yard. To start off, make sure you turn over any items in your yard that could hold water for long periods of time as this would be prime breeding grounds for mosquito larvae.
Additionally, be sure to keep your plants trimmed, grass mowed, and excess debris removed from the yard. When mosquitoes aren’t lurking for blood, they feast upon plant nectar and love to hang out in the bushes during daylight hours to escape the heat of the day.
If you’d really like to go above and beyond, do your landscaping around natural mosquito repelling plants or start growing a variety of citronella smelling herbs/plants around your yard. Mosquitoes tend to naturally avoid plants like marigolds, peppermint, lavender, basil, and catnip too.
What do you do to keep mosquitoes at bay from spreading the Zika virus?