Mosquitoes and the Zika Virus in Omaha
Zika Virus Heath Risks
The spread of the Zika Virus has been one of the biggest news stories of 2016, and for good reason: Zika is a dangerous virus spread both by mosquitoes to people and from person to person that is rapidly spreading throughout the Western Hemisphere. By February of 2016, two people in Nebraska have been diagnosed with the Zika Virus. Both of these cases were instances of people who travelled abroad and contracted Zika from mosquitoes in different countries, however Zika infected mosquitoes are now in the U.S. as well, though so far not near Nebraska.
The Zika virus is a particular concern for pregnant women, because it has been linked in a birth defect, microcephaly in newborns. However, it’s not just pregnant women who need to be concerned about getting Zika from mosquitoes, as there is increasing evidence that Zika can be transmitted sexually from a man to woman. In addition, the Zika virus has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults, a condition in which the immune system attacks nerves following an infection, causing muscle weakness and paralysis. For most people, the Zika virus causes only a brief, mild flu-like illness; many people don’t even realize they have contracted it before they have unwittingly passed it on to another person.
Zika and Mosquitoes
Although Zika can be spread from person to person, it is still most commonly spread by mosquitoes. While Zika-carrying mosquitoes are largely restricted to South and Central America it is possible, even likely, that they will become a problem in U.S. cities as well. Getting rid of mosquitoes around your home is one of the most basic steps you can take to protect your family. An ounce of prevention can go a long way to keep your loved ones safe.
Other Health Concerns
While Zika is not currently a pressing health risk to people in Omaha, mosquitoes here do carry other serious diseases that can pose serious, even fatal risks to humans. Mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus, La Crosse Encephalitis (LAC),and Jamestown Canyon Virus (JCV). In addition, a mosquito infestation in Omaha can pose a serious risk to your pets as mosquitoes are a frequent carrier Dog Heartworm. Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states, and the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease. It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing.