The Zika Virus. What It Means To You

Anopheles_stephensiMosquito borne diseases have been the bane of mankind from the beginning.  Malaria, for example, is an ancient disease that probably originated in Africa. It has been described by the Chinese as far back as 2700BC and the Sumerians from 1700 BC

Mosquitos can carry, and transmit to humans, diseases such as : malaria, dengue, filariasis, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis[.     

Zika

Zika is a relatively new mosquito borne virus that we really don’t know a lot about. What we do know isn’t good. Zika virus is carried by the Aedes mosquito, It seems to have started in equatorial Africa and is now running rampant in South America. There are also now cases reported in the United States. It is especially harmful to pregnant women, and can cause serious birth defects in the unborn called microcephaly. The child can be born with an abnormally small head diminishing mental capacity, and in some cases it can be fatal. For adults, the resulting illness only lasts a few days. The symptoms, including a rash, joint pains, inflammation of the eyes and fever, Basically, serious flu like symptoms. However, it is important to note that evidently a large percentage of infected people seem to show no signs of having the virus. It has been reported that Zika can possibly  be sexually transmitted. It can rapidly spread when a mosquito bites an infected person, and then transmits it to another, uninfected, person.

Prevention and Treatment_Are_you_a_mosquito_breeder__-_NARA_-_513877

There is no vaccine to prevent or cure Zika. However, prevention techniques are the same as for any other mosquito borne disease. Avoid traveling to those areas where a large number of infections have been reported. The Center for Disease Control has a list of travel warnings on their website. If you have to travel to these areas, try to avoid areas with a lot of mosquitos, wear Sawyer 51sMNFe6SiLlong pants and long sleeved shirts, and use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or IR3535.. Consider using mosquito nets when sleeping, and even wearing insect repellent clothing.91ureNoVsPL__SL1500_

Right now there is serious ongoing investigation into the Zika virus. It is important to stay up to date on the findings. There is a lot that we do not know about this virus yet.

 

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8 thoughts on “The Zika Virus. What It Means To You

  1. Additional info.
    How do they detect your presence from afar?
    Their antenna can pick up the exhaled CO2 from your breath
    So don’t exercise too hard.
    Note a respirator DOES NOT STOP YOU EXHALING CO2.

    Over what distance?
    In ideal conditions, up to 50 m

    How do they zero in on you?
    The closer they get, they start to sense (smell) other “body odours (pheromones) and some 340 other chemical signatures.
    That and the CO2 that is shed from your skin and octenol (a chemical found in sweat).
    Not forgetting the lactic acid in the sweat from exercise.
    Their VERY SIMPLE eyes are also capable of picking out lights and bright colours.

    Why are some more targeted than others?
    Basically because some emit more pheromones and CO2.
    Larger people and the pregnant are two examples.
    People with high concentrations of steroids or cholesterol on their skin surface or those taking folic acid are particularly attractive.
    Uric acid also acts as an attractant which is why field toilets need to be buried.
    The best attractant for them is those wearing perfumes (including scented soaps), cologne, and some skin lotions.
    From personal experience the day after a boozy night (when people are literally sweating alcohol), makes you attractive.
    As does being unclean i.e. not taking a shower.
    Because they don’t change their socks. The smell from the bacteria on feet is a powerful attraction.

    Protection.
    Sprays or lotions with over 15 percent DEET can protect you for up to 90 minutes.
    So re-dose yourself on the half hour.
    Picaridin and lemon-eucalyptus oil are now recommended alternatives BUT are not so effective.
    Don’t use scented or strong soaps, keep cool don’t sweat.
    Use tiger coils and citronella smoke candles as an area defense.
    Metofluthrin paper strips or fan assisted fumes drive mosquitoes away.
    BUT DO NOT USE DIRECTLY ON SKIN.
    My old favourite is clothing infused or dusted with permethrin.
    Don’t move around, the simple eyes can pick out movement.
    Dress dark or drab.
    Cover up. Roll sleeves down, wear gloves,
    Use a portable mosquito net at night and a personal net over your head during the day.

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