Our outdoor recreation clients may face questions about the dangers of the Zika virus this summer. Here’s some information that can help all adventure outfits accurately inform customers about the status of the virus here in the U.S.
What is Zika?
While Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness, there have been confirmed cases of transmission through sexual contact and blood transfusion. The virus was discovered in Africa in 1947.
Zika in the U.S.
While cases have been reported in 45 U.S. states, the disease is believed to have been contracted outside of the U.S. and no mosquitos in the states to date have tested positive for the disease.
Zika, which can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus, has been linked to microcephaly in newborns, severe brain malformations and other birth defects. The virus may also be linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can affect individuals of any age or sex.
As of today, the illness cannot be prevented by vaccines. While the creation of a vaccine is in the works, The University of Texas Medical branch has predicted that it could take up to two years to develop a vaccine, but more time may be needed before an effective Zika vaccine is approved by regulators for public use.
The best course of action is prevention. Everyone should make an effort to prevent bites with insect repellent and cover as much of the body with clothing as possible during outdoor activities. Wherever feasible, mosquito nets can be used to decrease contact. Getting rid of standing water sources can decrease mosquito reproduction.
With mosquito season approaching, government officials are taking precautions to combat the growth of the mosquito population.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is an invaluable source for more information. Visit their website at: