The Zika virus caused serious health concerns in 2016. Travel warnings were issued for certain areas with tropical climates, and efforts to reduce mosquitos carrying the virus were quickly escalated. But once the initial news of the virus subsided, many people were left wondering what kind of risk Zika continued to pose, if any. Without constant news coverage, it’s hard to discern whether the Zika virus is still a serious risk.
Here’s an update on what’s new in Zika research, including information on where the virus has been detected in recent months.
Are cases of Zika increasing or decreasing?
Fortunately, the number of new Zika cases is steadily decreasing. There was a huge spike in Zika in the Americas throughout early 2016; there were 25,000 to 40,000 new cases per week in South American, with Brazil seeing the biggest increase in case counts. But by the end of 2016, there were only about 5,000 cases reported per week, and by summer 2017, case numbers had dwindled to a few hundred per week.
Why has Zika stopped spreading as rapidly?
There are two main reasons that Zika has not continued to spread at such a high rate. First, there were many efforts made to stamp out the mosquitos which carried the virus. But more importantly, the spread of the virus actually acted like a vaccine in itself. As Zika spread, more and more people in the population built up antibodies and developed immunity to it. This acts like herd immunity from a vaccine that makes it more difficult for the virus to continue spreading.
Is Zika spreading in the U.S.?
Health officials are keeping tabs on transmission rates in local areas. There are parts of South Florida and South Texas where the risk of Zika is higher. Certain weather patterns may also be of concern. For example, the recent flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey could cause a temporary dip in Zika cases because the floods likely washed out much of the existing mosquito population, but the standing water left behind will become a fertile breeding ground for mosquitos, including those potentially carrying the virus. Overall, there have been very few cases of Zika detected in the U.S. in 2017.
Is there a Zika vaccine yet?
A widely available vaccine for Zika has not yet been released, though several companies are working to develop one.
What’s the best way to prevent Zika?
Those looking to reduce the risk of Zika near their home or business should look into comprehensive solutions from a licensed pest control company. MosquitoNix® can deliver customized mosquito treatments for the area surrounding your home or your business that are much more likely to keep mosquitos away than your typical insect repellent. Discreet systems can deliver a powerful yet completely safe mist or fog to keep mosquitos out of your yard. We also have unique mosquito control treatments for special events as well as a portable system that can be used while camping or for small outdoor areas.
Contact MosquitoNix today to learn more about our services and to receive a free cost estimate.
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