Zika Virus Update

    By on May 25, 2016

    June Smith | Red Creek Health Officer

    Those pesky mosquitos are on their way and this year they can carry not only EEE (eastern equine encephalitis), WNY (West Nile virus) but now the Zika virus as well. You have probably heard all the news regarding this virus which can cause microcephaly (small skull and brain) in babies born to infected moms. But did you know this Zika virus can make anyone sick with headaches, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and rash?

    The virus was first discovered in 1947 in Uganda. The aedes mosquito is the carrier and in addition to the aedes aegypti, the aedes arboreal species carries the virus. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has warned that these mosquitos will be as far north as Maine and have stated the Zika Virus is PANDEMIC. It has spread into the United States from all of Central and South America, the Caribean, Oceania and Pacific Islands. There was a case diagnosed in Onondaga County 2 weeks ago.

    One mosquito can lay 100 eggs in water. The eggs hatch about 24 hours later and travel from 2 to 15 miles. The aedes mosquito only bite during the day so protect with long sleeves, EPA registered mosquito spray with DEET and/or picardin. Some also recommend a home-made, eco-friendly spray solution of Epsom salt, dawn dish-soap, blue mouthwash and stale beer.

    The Zika virus is not thought to be spread by animals but can be sexually transmitted by men who have been bitten and had symptoms. These exposed men can transmit the disease for up to 6 months. Based on this information, The American Red Cross has instituted new guidelines for anyone who has traveled to Central or South America and these may severely decrease the amount of blood donated by women.

    Wayne County Public Health department response will include mosquito surveillance and trapping, education through the “Fight the Bite” campaign from the CDC and spraying when necessary in July and August. The Zika virus is a mandated reportable disease by all physicians for disease monitoring. The WCPH department also recommends eliminating all “standing water” around your home such as bird baths and old tires which are high risk breeding grounds.

    NYSDOH is offering “DUNKS”, a larvacide “cake” to kill mosquito eggs. You may receive 2 free by calling 1-888- 364-4773.

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