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Zika Virus Information
ZIKA VIRUS INFORMATION

The recent unpredictable spread of the Zika Virus has the health and healthcare community on alert for how to prevent the spread of Zika Virus.  As information is always changing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is a good place to check for the latest information: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ 

CDC Hotline: (800) CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636)

Here are some important facts about the Zika Virus: 

  • Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by a virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. 
  • How can someone get infected with Zika Virus?  Zika virus is transmitted to people mainly through the bite of infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito or through sexual transmission or maternal-fetal transmission.
  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). 
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
  • ZIKA VIRUS AND PREGNANCY: The assumption is that pregnant women represent a highly vulnerable population as Zika Virus infection in pregnant women has been associated with birth defects (such as microcephaly) and adverse pregnancy outcomes, with growing evidence for a causal link as public health entities continue to monitor cases.   For more information on Zika Virus and Pregnancy, refer to the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/index.html

Mosquitoes and Health: 

  • Efforts to reduce mosquitos breeding sites and preventing mosquito bites also reduce the risk of infection from other diseases that mosquitoes may carry, including:
    • West Nile virus
    • Dengue
    • Chikungunya
  • There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world; 63 of which are found in New Jersey.Mosquitoes live in water during their larval stage; stagnant water is the breeding site for mosquitoes.1
  • Only the female mosquito bites; she obtains a blood meal to obtain the protein necessary for the development of her eggs.1
1 Source: Passaic County NJ Mosquito Control

What can residents do to prevent mosquito breeding sites?
   

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here’s what you can do to control mosquitoes outside your home:
Install or repair and use window and door screens. Do not leave doors propped open.
Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
  • Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
  • For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
  • Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
Use an outdoor flying insect spray where mosquitoes rest. Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.
Furthermore, Keep windows and doors shut and use air conditioning when possible.  Outdoor fans can also be helpful to circulate the air and keep mosquitoes away, when you are sitting on an outdoor porch.  

For more information, go to:

Maplewood Health Department , "Thanks for the Tip: Checklist for Creating a Mosquito-Free Backyard

NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP): "DEP Fact Sheet: Zika Virus & New Jersey mosquitoes"
"Preventing Mosquitoes in Your Backyard"  (source: Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Controlling Mosquitoes at Home

If you have questions about mosquitoes, how to eliminate breeding sites or mosquito control, contact the Essex County Mosquito Control (973) 239-3366 x2480.

Residents can also PREVENT MOSQUITO BITES.
 

Use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent with one of the following active ingredients. All EPA-registered insect repellents are evaluated to make sure they are safe and effective. See the following PDF for a list of insect repellents: Help Control Mosquitoes that Spread Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika Viruses [PDF] 

Resources: 

The CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health are continually updating Zika virus information including infographics and guidance for the general public, healthcare providers, and international travelers: 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/zika

NJ Department of Health website: http://nj.gov/health/cd/zika/


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