The Florida Department of Health is continually and carefully investigating areas in South Florida, where many people have been infected with the Zika Virus. New reports confirm that the Zika virus is spreading despite aerial spraying of insecticides to kill off the mosquitoes spreading the virus. The number of locally transmitted Zika is at now 15 bringing the total number of people who caught the Zika virus to over 300 when adding those that are in the state who caught the virus abroad.
With the Florida Department of Health doing everything they can, it is best to arm yourself with knowledge about the Zika virus so you can best protect yourself.
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika virus causes the Zika virus disease which is mainly spread through mosquito bites of infected mosquitos. The symptoms include Zika fever, red eyes, rash, headache and some muscle and joint pain. The symptoms (if any) are usually mild and last anywhere from a few days to a week. In some cases, the virus can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). The main concern with the virus is for pregnant women. The virus can cause several fetal brain defects such as microcephaly. It is not known if someone infected with the Zika virus will have complications with future pregnancies. If you are pregnant, it is recommended that you do not travel to places where the Zika virus is active. If you would like to be tested for the Zika virus, go to your local doctor. You will want to disclose any recent traveling that you’ve done and whatever symptoms that you have experienced. The virus is usually detected through a blood or urine test.
To prevent the virus, the best thing you can do is protect yourself and those around you from mosquito bites. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants and use EPA-registered insect repellents. The local Miami Police department and other officials were giving away free insect repellent to locals. If you are sleeping in an area that puts you at-risk for mosquito bites (outside or no screen on windows etc.), it is best to sleep under a mosquito bed net.
This virus can also be sexually transmitted from males to their partners. The best way to prevent that is to use condoms or to abstain from having sex.
It is important to know that these infected mosquitos are known to be day and night bitters. The only area with ongoing Zika virus transmission is a neighborhood north of downtown Miami where 12 of the 15 people who locally caught the virus were infected. It has been narrowed down to about 1 sq. mile in a neighborhood near Wynwood. Florida health officials will put out an advisory anytime someone becomes infected.
You can get more information from the CDC on what to do if you are local to the areas currently affected by the Zika virus.