Health department issues information on Zika virus
• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or wear permethrin-treated items. Do not apply permethrin directly on skin. Follow instructions carefully for permethrin use and effectiveness. • Eliminate standing water in and around the home. • Sleep under a mosquito netting if sleeping outdoors. Cover cribs and strollers with mosquito netting, if used outdoors. • Use Environmental Protective Agency registered mosquito repellents. When used as directed, they are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Do not apply to infants under the age of two-months. • Follow product instructions for use and application. • Do not spray repellent on the skin under clothing. • If applying sunscreen, apply repellent after sunscreen. • Spray insect repellent on hands to apply to the face.
CENTREVILLE — Officials from the Queen Anne’s County Department of Health following guidelines received from the Center for Disease Control have issued the subsequent information regarding the Zika virus. The Zika virus is a disease spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito.
According to officials, the most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes (conjunctivitis). The illness is usually mild, with symptoms ranging in duration from days to one week. More serious symptoms requiring hospitalization are uncommon. Prior to 2015, areas with active mosquitoborne transmission were reported in Central and South America. To date, no local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in the United States, but the CDC notes there have been travel associated cases within the United States. These imported cases may result in the local spreading of the virus as travelers visiting or returning to the United States increase.
Transmission occurs when the female Aedes species mosquito becomes infected by feeding on a person already with the virus and then spreads the virus to others through bites. These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters, but can also bite at night. They lay their eggs in and near standing water in buckets, animal dishes, trash cans, outside tarps, flower pots; needing only a bottle cap of water to hatch their eggs in about a week. It is recommended to empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out items that can hold water around your home on a weekly basis.
The greatest risk of infection is from mosquito bites, although a pregnant woman can pass the Zika virus to her infant during pregnancy. The Zika virus has been linked to infants born with microcephaly (poor brain development with a smaller than normal head) and other brain defects. Guidelines now recognize that the Zika virus can be transmitted sexually. It is recommended to contact your local healthcare provider or health department to provide guidance when indicated.
The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue fever and chikungunya; all spread through the same mosquitoes. Symptoms can be treated with rest, fluids and Tylenol to reduce fever and pain. Do not take aspirin, Motrin or Advil; and if you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to you doctor or healthcare provider. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat the Zika virus.
What can you do to fight the bite? Keep rain gutters and downspouts clear of debris. Check your yard for standing water in wheelbarrows, old tires and large plastic toys; also repair any holes in window or door screens. Help prevent mosquito bites by using an EPA- registered insect repellent that contains at least 20 percent DEET, following the instructions on the package and reapply as directed.
Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 month of age; consider draping a mosquito net over their carriers, strollers or car seat for protection.
Adults should apply repellent to their hands and spread it over the child’s exposed skin.
Everyone can cover exposed skin by wearing long sleeve shirts and pants. Your clothing can be treated with permethrin. Follow the product information to see how long and after how many washings protection will last for your clothes. Do not use permethrin products, intended to treat clothing, directly on your skin.
For the most current information about the Zika virus, visit www.cdc.gov/ zika or contact the Queen Anne’s County Health, 206 N. Commerce St., Centreville, or by phone, 443-2624451.