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Preventing a Zika Outbreak in the U.S.

Preventing a Zika Outbreak in the U.S.

With temperatures soaring across the country, the Zika virus has begun to enter people’s minds once again. When the temperatures are cooler during the winter months many people tend to forget about the virus and what it can do to the body. Many authorities across the country are doing their best to prevent a Zika outbreak in the United States.

The numbers in other countries south of the United States are staggering. According to the Pan American Health Organization, the Caribbean sees 651 cases per week related to Zika. The weekly average for cases in South America is now at 6,601. Of them, 6,164 were reported in Brazil.

From January 1, 2015 to March 1, 2017 there were 5,000 cases of Zika reported in the United States. Of those 5,000 cases, some 4,779 occurred in people who traveled to areas outside of the country that were already known as Zika hot spots. There were six cases in Texas and 215 in Florida that were believed to be acquired through local transmission of mosquitoes.

As of June 2017 there is no medication or vaccine available to treat or prevent the Zika virus. A pharmaceutical company received the go ahead in June of 2016 to begin human trials on a Zika vaccine candidate it developed. Some scientists have said that it could be as much as a decade before a treatment approved by the FDA is available to the public.

“This was reviewed by the FDA, along with experts from the CDC and EPA, and last year they published a Finding of No Significant Impact, which stated that a trial would not have any negative impact on human health, animal health or the environment,” Andrew Monaghan of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in December of 2016 that it was providing $184 million in funding to protect Americans from the Zika virus this year. The CDC also has a screening tool on its website for pregnant women that can be administered by their doctors.

Researchers at the University of Florida found two new disease-carrying mosquito species in the state in January. This is a sign that the climate is changing that makes Florida a more hospitable environment for mosquitoes to survive.

A study released in February by the University of Georgia had a model that predicted as many as 35 different mosquito species can carry the Zika virus. The study noted that seven of those 35 mosquito species can be found in the continental United States.

Scientists are hoping that the release of genetically modified insects can help control the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. If this method works, it could be very cost effective in the efforts to fight a Zika outbreak in the United States.

Contact Tick Killz today to learn more about the Zika virus and what you should do if Zika is in your area.