You have heard via this radio station and countless other mediums that you are suppose to avoid mosquito bites because of the danger of getting West Nile virus, but now there is another worry.

Mosquitoes that carry Zika are another danger to all of us but especially women.

Zika is mosquito-borne virus that that researchers in Brazil say has been linked to thousands of babies who have brain damage.

The worry is simple. Will a woman who gets infected with the Zika virus from a mosquito be born with microcephaly? Microcephaly is a condition in which babies are born with very small heads.

Researchers say this leads to developmental issues and, in some cases, death.

Where is this virus?  Fox News report that health departments in both Arkansas and Virginia have confirmed that two women who had traveled recently out of the United States, then returned home, where found to be positive for the virus.

You can't get the virus from person-to-person contact as it is only spread by female mosquitoes, but in Louisiana, every season can be mosquito season if sustained low temperatures don't kill off the mosquito population.

Besides the country of Brazil, there are now other cases being reported in Latin America, and yesterday CNN reported " In Illinois, two pregnant women who traveled to Latin America have tested positive for the virus; health officials are monitoring their pregnancies."

The World Health Organization expects the virus to spread to most countries in the Americas.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that all pregnant women stay away from areas where Zika is active.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says the disease is being transmitted in the following countries:

Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Venezuela.

Have you been to any of the above places? Are you going to any of these places this year? Do you need to worry? Click here for more information from the CDC.

In addition to the obvious adverse health effects for women and their unborn children, Zika virus can also cause problems for men.  Most cases are mild, but some have been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome along with other issues.

Here is what the CDC lists as symptoms of Zika:

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).

  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  • Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.
  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
  • Deaths are rare.

Most of the care for Zika includes, taking fluids, plenty of rest, acetaminophen for the pain and avoiding aspirin and NSAIDS like ibuprofen and naproxen which can lead to hemorrhaging in the instance that you have dengue fever and not Zika.

So, please spread the word to anyone who is pregnant to be vigilant about avoiding mosquitoes.

Remember the five d's that Mosquito control contractors suggest that you keep top of mind:

  • Dusk
  • Dawn
  • Deet
  • Drain
  • Dress

 

Dusk and Dawn are the two times that mosquitoes are most active.

When you can, wear clothing that covers your body as much as possible to help prevent mosquitoes from getting to your skin.

Use mosquito repellent with Deet which is the best known protection against mosquitoes.

Always drain any standing water on your property where mosquitoes would like to set up home to reproduce. Even a small amount of water can be the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

So, as usual, you need to do what you can to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, and you need to make sure that pregnant women are even more cautious.

Protect yourself, and we will keep you updated on the spread of Zika and any other Illnesses.