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SUMMER 2017 ZIKA VIRUS UPDATE

Remember the newest mosquito-borne illness, Zika virus, that was a top news story for months in 2016? It seemed news on Zika virus was taking the world by storm last summer. So much that even Olympic athletes were dropping out and choosing not to attend the 2016 summer games in Brazil. Have you wondered why the virus has not seemed to be a mainstream topic once again this summer? There are still travel recommendations for the majority of the continents of South America, as well as Africa and Southeastern Asia. Other major affected countries include Mexico and Cuba, both of which border the U.S. and are popular travel destinations for Americans.

Beyond travel restrictions internationally, there have also been Zika transmissions by local mosquitoes in both Texas and Florida. In addition, Zika cases have been reported in more than 30 states throughout the U.S. since the beginning of 2017. So the question is, do you still need to worry about the Zika virus? The short answer is yes, as general mosquito precautions in the summer are important for everyone, even beyond pregnant woman says Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the division of vector-borne diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please be on high alert when traveling to Texas and Florida this summer, especially if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Six pregnant women in Harris County, Texas, alone have tested positive for Zika since June 1. The reason this causes a concern? Side effects of the Zika virus in pregnant women has been linked to microcephaly, a congenital malformation resulting in smaller than normal head size for age and sex, according to the CDC .

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Although mosquitoes, and their spread of Zika, have not been the top headline of every news source this summer, researchers and public health officials are continuing to fight the mosquito-borne illness. Last month in May, it was reported that Zika testing rose to levels not seen since last August, according to EHR vendor athenahealth. The sharp increase in testing does not necessarily foreshadow for Zika infections to return in full force, but doctors, medical practices, and hospital administrators still want to be aware of nationwide trends pertaining to the virus. The news for this week is the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH) said it would fund a study in Guatemala to determine whether Zika virus is capable of attacking the still-developing brains of newborns. While the top headlines have died down, the research and news on this mosquito-borne disease – that we still know little about – has not completely disappeared.

If you think you have become infected with the Zika virus, please follow the steps below to keep from spreading it! Consider staying up-to-date on the spread of the Zika virus by checking STAT’s weekly re-cap in their ‘Zika in 30 seconds: What you need to know today’ post. Also, call 877-DEAD-BUG to learn more about our Preventative Mosquito Service (PMS) – protect your family and enjoy your yard more this summer!

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