Recent Posts

header ads

The Zika Virus: What It Is, Where It Is, and Protective Steps to Take



Okay, so for a while over there, April looked more like February or early March as cold rains and even snowflakes fell to the ground here in the Philadelphia area, with warnings from freeze in place as soon as this article is written.

It's not good for fragile plants or for us, tired of winter, but it was then. Now in the middle of the month, the thermometer reads 77 degrees and the big outside door is beckoning us. Only problem: mosquitoes are not far behind.

In the good old days, it just meant an annoying bite and two buzzing in our ears when we tried to fall asleep. But years later, the mosquito-borne West Nile virus made its appearance on our shores and reached a historic record in 2012.

Last year, another virus, Chikungunya, came with symptoms such as fever, nausea, muscle and joint pain. And now we have a third mosquito-borne disease, which is now in the news, like USA Today: "Health officials say Zika is more frightening than we thought."

So here's what you need to know ...

Six months ago, most of us had never heard the word Zika, let alone given a second thought. Named after a Ugandan forest, it was discovered in 1947 with the first human cases reported in 1952. Several decades later, last year, the Pan American Health Organization had alerted about the first confirmed case in Brazil. far from our shores so still not a big deal for us. Be warned, however, that the alert has since been updated.

And just two months ago, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus "a public health emergency of international concern." It means us too. Indeed, the threat is such that the White House recently asked Congress $ 1.9 billion to help fight and limit the impact.

Hopefully the money will be available soon because the main culprit, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has already invaded 30 states. Similarly, another vector, the Aedes albopictus mosquito, also called Asian tiger mosquito, has also made its way.

In the meantime, this week alone, a Camden woman has been diagnosed with the virus; The two previous cases have been confirmed here in Montgomery County - all related to travel, but still ... Across the country, 346 people have already been infected.

Fortunately, only 20% of people exposed to the virus get sick and the symptoms are usually mild and include:
  • Fever
  • reckless
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Articular pain

The major concern, however, concerns pregnant women whose fetal development presents a high risk of microcephaly, a congenital anomaly that causes smaller than normal heads and poorly developed brains. It is also potentially fatal. Of the 346 Americans infected to date, 32 were at risk pregnant women, not only during the first three months of pregnancy, but also in the sixth month.

We also know now that Zika is linked to various neurological diseases in adults - and that it is transmitted not only by the bite of a mosquito, but also sexually. In fact, this was the case in seven of the 346 already diagnosed here. Also note that a vaccine does not exist yet, so ...

If travel plans are waiting for you, stay informed about alerts, especially if you are pregnant. To date, 24 countries are on the warning list, including Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic.

Then take a look outside in the vicinity, as stagnant water is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. The exercise includes:
  1. Avoid wet and grassy areas.
  2. Keep the pool clean and chlorinated; also remove stagnant water from the pool cover
  3. Clean the clogged gutters.
  4. Flip the wading pools, wheelbarrows, etc. plastic when you do not use them.
  5. Discard the old tires.
  6. Discard empty containers, plastic or otherwise, as they may collect water.
  7. Empty the flower pots of water.
  8. Bring recycling containers as soon as possible so that water does not accumulate.

Meanwhile, try to stay indoors at dawn, dusk and early evening. And, of course, wear long pants, long-sleeved tops, shoes and socks if you go. Use an insect repellent too, but ...

  • DO NOT use more than 30% of DEET on anyone.
  • DO NOT use aerosol sprays in aerosols pressure vessels as they may be inhaled and / or enter the eyes.
  • DO NOT use insect repellent mixed with sunscreen, as applying sunscreen every few hours could result in overexposure to insect repellent.

Your safest bet: the N'visible patch without any worry or chemicals. This unique, vitamin-based and DEET-free protection is both safe and effective. Field tested in Africa, it protects in 30 minutes, lasts up to 12 hours and improves even in continuous use.


The reason: mosquitoes are looking for CO2 that is masked by the patch. No creams, lotions or sprays to treat. Instead, simply apply the N'visible patch all over your skin - arm, wrist, chest, hand - and you're ready to go, no fuss, no muss.