Zika Virus In The US: How To Reduce The Severity Of Potential Outbreak This Summer

By Daniel Joseph, Parent Herald April 17, 07:07 am

The Zika virus outbreak has spread across many countries in Latin America including Brazil and Colombia. Unfortunately, many experts believe that the spread of Zika virus in the U.S. this summer seems inevitable as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also commented that the number of states that have the presence of Zika-carrying mosquitoes was bigger than initial estimates, NPR reports. The best way to predict how big the Zika virus outbreak will be this summer is to compare Zika's spread and behavior in other countries with its spread and behavior in the U.S.

The biggest reason for this contagiousness is the number of mosquitoes that can pass the Zika virus from one person to another. Effective mosquito control in the U.S. can lower the Zika virus' level of contagiousness.

Scientists have studied how contagious Zika virus is in Colombia. They found out that a person infected with Zika can usually spread the virus to approximately four other people during the course of the outbreak.

This method of controlling the Zika virus outbreak in the U.S. might also be similar to how Dengue virus has been controlled in the country. Dengue infects millions of people in Western countries. However, there are only very small Dengue outbreaks in the U.S.

"It's true - periodically people come back to the states with diseases, like dengue. And periodically, we have a small outbreak," Dr. Scott Lillibridge told NPR. "So why worry about Zika?"

There are several ways to prevent Zika virus infection despite not having any available Zika vaccine. The CDC reports that wearing shirts with long sleeves, wearing pants, proper application of insect repellent, sleeping under a mosquito bed net and treating clothes with permethryn can help reduce a person's risk for Zika virus infection. Closing all doors and windows and making sure that there is no stagnant water around the house can also help prevent Zika virus spread.

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