We hope you’ve been keeping your gutters clean, dumping out flowerpots and keeping excess water from accumulating around your home. It appears that the U.S. Congress is dragging their feet when it comes to battling the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that carry it.
First and foremost, we have to say that no resident of the continental U.S. has been found to have contracted Zika through a domestic mosquito bite. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have released the news that 722 people have brought the virus back with them after traveling abroad. Zika has emerged in the U.S. island territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands where over 1,400 cases have been diagnosed.
It’s the Aedes mosquito that spreads the virus. Zika is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda.
When pregnant women are bitten, their babies may be born with severe brain defects, including microcephaly, which inhibits head growth in the fetus and leads to other serious problems. For the rest of us, such a mosquito bite might bring mild symptoms so that you might travel to a country with a Zika outbreak, like Brazil, and unknowingly return home with it. While bites from infected mosquitoes are by far the primary source of human infection, the CDC says an infected man can spread it to a sexual partner of either gender.
If Zika doesn’t concern you, West Nile virus should. That virus was a huge concern last year and could be a concern again this year. Here are the tips that Virginia Beach Public Works has released on keeping mosquitoes down on your property:
- Turn over or remove containers in your yard where rainwater collects, such as potted plant trays, buckets, or toys.
- Empty bird baths once a week.
- Remove old tires from your yard.
- Clean roof gutters and downspout screens.
- Eliminate standing water on flat roofs, boats, and tarps.
- Clear obstructions in ditches so they flow and drain. Fill in puddles with soil, or a mixture of sand and gravel, or dig drainage ditches to drain puddles.
An editorial by the Savannah, Georgia newspaper reported “President Barrack Obama sent a $1.9 billion request to Congress four months ago for Zika funding, long before mosquito season arrived. The Senate instead voted for $1.1 billion for this year and next, still too much for the House, which set the number at $622 million for this year with more to come later. Most of that sum would come from money appropriated but not spent on the now-tamed Ebola epidemic. Both chambers contain members, including a few Republicans, who still want what Obama wants.”