The Zika Virus, Mosquitoes and Water
An Unhealthy Relationship
What is the Zika Virus?
The Zika Virus is a disease related to dengue, yellow fever, and the West Nile Virus. It is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito or via sexual transmission.
The Aedes Mosquito is in Every Continent Except Antarctica
The Zika virus has been found in:
- Central America
- Pacific Islands
- South America
- Southeast Asia
- United States
Common Symptoms of the Zika Virus
Symptoms are usually mild and begin 3-7 days after being bitten.
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Red eyes
- Birth defects
Why Should We be Worried
Zika is linked to microcephaly, the development of unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns.
Zika is linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease caused by the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking the nervous system.
Few in the Western Hemisphere have an immune defense against the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Zika an international public health emergency.
30 countries have been identified as travel threats to pregnant women.
Water—Where the Problem Begins
Mosquitoes breed in standing (stagnant) water found in:
- Containers (flowerpots, cans, tires)
- Freshwater lakes and ponds
- Freshwater swamps and marshes
- Flooded areas
- Stormwater and wastewater retention areas
Water—Where the Solution Starts
Mosquito abatement starts by keeping water clean.
- Empty, drain, or cover anything that can hold water
- Eliminate standing water in pots, buckets, barrels, tires, yards, pools
- Ensure proper drainage around homes and businesses
- Clean bird baths regularly
- Repair outside leaks
- Chlorinate swimming pools
- Unclog rain gutters and drains
- Aerate the water in your fountains, ponds and lakes.
Additional Blog Posts of Interest
Global Explorers: Navigating Climate Data [Free eBook]
Hypoxia, The Silent Killer You Need to Understand
The Evolution of Water Quality Monitoring [Free eBook]
Harmful Algal Blooms | What's In Your Source Water?