This is not good news. Not only is the threat posed by Zika virus more legitimate with warmer weather, but the virus is more dangerous than originally thought according to disease experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s indicated that Zika can cause microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome, and now experts have found that a condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is linked to the virus as well.
“Most of what we’ve learned is not reassuring,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought.”
Vaccine research will not catch up with the spread of the virus at this point. There are 346 cases of Zika confirmed in the continental United States — all in people who had recently traveled to Zika-prone countries, according to the most recent CDC report. Of those, 32 were in pregnant women, and seven were sexually transmitted.
Experts have expressed concern that the hot and humid areas of the Gulf Coast would be hit hardest by the virus this summer. Poorer communities in big cities such as Houston, New Orleans and Tampa seem to be set up for big problems since mosquitoes can more easily reach people who will deal with the summer heat while lacking air conditioning and window screens.
Norfolk is in a region that will see an increase in the mosquito population that could carry the virus.
How do you limit your risks?
– Eliminate standing water by dumping containers that could hold rainwater and filling in low spots or holes that could accumulate water.
– Treat your property for mosquitoes (Getem Services can help with that).
– The mosquito breed most likely to carry Zika virus are more active in the day time. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
– Stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
The full list of steps to control and prevent the spread of Zika virus is available here, on the CDC website.