Zika Virus in Georgia? Should I Be Concerned?

Zika Virus in Georgia?  Should I Be Concerned?

Several mosquito-borne viruses circulate in Georgia each year that are capable of causing disease in both humans and animals. The most common of these viruses include West Nile virus, Eastern Equine encephalitis virus, and LaCrosse virus. This year, there is the threat of a possible new virus known as the Zika virus, stemming from “the yellow fever mosquito”. Recently, there have been quite a few diagnosed cases of Zika virus in the United States. As of now, these people appear to have all contracted the virus while traveling to other countries, such as Central and South America, where there is a serious outbreak. The yellow fever mosquito that transmits the Zika virus already lives in the United States, found mostly in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina. As of now, mosquitos infected with this virus have only been found in Puerto Rico; however, these southern states could begin seeing infected mosquitos as spring approaches and temperatures increase. With the abundant amount of rainfall Georgia has received this winter, it will establish a lush breeding ground for mosquitoes.SurGuard Exterminating

Mosquito-borne viruses generally cannot be transmitted from person to person. The viruses are spread when an infected mosquito bites you. Symptoms from any of these viruses usually consists of flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, aches, or a rash. These symptoms can last for a few days to several weeks, sometimes resulting in more serious side effects. While others may not develop any symptoms at all. In addition to these side effects, The Zika virus has been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome which can cause temporary paralysis and it poses a threat to unborn babies when their mother is infected. There appears to be a link between the virus and microcephaly, a disorder in which the brain and skull do not develop as they should. A May 2015 outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil led to nearly 3,500 reports of birth defects linked to the virus and has since spread to 20 countries in Central and South American and the Caribbean. Currently there is not a vaccine or even a test to detect this devastating virus caused by a single mosquito bite.

While mosquitoes are most active in Georgia from late spring through early fall, it is important to safeguard you, your family, and your pets against them. Possible measures that you can take consists of dressing in light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants & stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active. The most effective solution to this problem is a two step process called “vector control.” The first step involves changing or eliminating the mosquitoes natural breeding sites in and around your home. This consist of removing water sources that mosquitoes use as breeding sites such as empty flower pots, kiddie pools, buckets, bird baths, and other container debris. The second step in this process is using a chemical control. Larvicides can be used in water sources that can not be removed such as ponds, temporary flood pools, and ditches. Larvicides will eliminate the mosquito larvae before it matures and begins biting. Chemical barriers (adulticides) are effective against adult mosquitoes and can be applied on a regular basis throughout early spring, summer, and early fall. Typically, areas where adults, children, and pets live, work, and play can be treated to help control biting mosquitoes.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions or concerns about this upcoming mosquito season and how you can safeguard your loved ones. Here at SurGuard Exterminating, your health and safety is our highest priority.  

David Gibson, Owner

SurGuard Exterminating