Is Zika Still a Threat in 2017?

From the 2016 Zika virus outbreak, fifty-one babies have been born with birth defects in the United States. While that number doesn’t seem terribly high relatively speaking, it is alarming considering the Zika virus has only been locally transmitted in Florida and Texas.

NPR recently reported the full extent of the affects of Zika in the Unites States in 2016 and the numbers are not at all comforting. Out of about 1,300 pregnant women infected with Zika virus, 77 pregnancies were lost, 43 babies were born with microcephaly or brain abnormalities and another 8 babies suffered either eye abnormalities or neural tube defects.

Overall the infected women faced a 5% risk of severe birth defects in their babies. But if infected during the first trimester, the risk increased to 15%.

2017 Zika Numbers & Predictions

In the United States right now the CDC reports that they are seeing 30-40 new cases of Zika virus in pregnant women per week! Simple math puts us at 1,560- 2,080 cases by the end of the year. (Not to mention an expected increase in that rate during vacation season this summer.) If the 5% rule applies we could be looking at over 100 babies with severe birth defects this year due to the Zika virus.

Despite the news not reporting much about Zika virus so far this year, it is still a dangerous threat, especially to pregnant women. It is vital that pregnant women continue to be vigilant in mosquito protection, especially when it comes to traveling. We recommend you keep a close eye on the CDC’s Zika Travel Guide for the latest affected locations. Currently, Texas, Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean and parts of Central America, South America, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and Asia are included in these warnings.

Don’t forget: You can bring Zika virus back to the United States undetected and pass it to the local mosquito population. We recommend vigilance for all travelers to help avoid transfer of the virus locally.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville

At Mosquito Squad of Greenville, we don’t anticipate the local transmission of Zika virus to be a problem this season. However, mosquitoes pass on other dangerous diseases such as West Nile Virus and heartworm to our dogs, making it important to avoid mosquito bites at home. We recommend a full season of mosquito control treatments for your yard to reduce mosquitoes by up to 90%. Call today for a free quote to lower the annoyance factor in your yard! 864-277-4299

Local Miami Mosquitoes Transmit Zika Virus: Is Greenville Next?

Asian-Tiger-Mosquito-Greenville-SCIn 2015, the Zika virus made its appearance in the United States. A mosquito-borne illness, it is transmitted by a bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The virus can also be spread by sexual contact and from a mother to her unborn child in the womb. While for most healthy beings Zika symptoms don’t amount to much more than mild flu if there are any symptoms at all, for pregnant women the effects can be devastating. Children born to a woman that contracted Zika while pregnant are at risk of having severe birth defects, including microcephaly.

Miami Under Close Watch

Zika-Virus-GreenvilleWhen Zika was first discovered in the United States, it was clear that it had been brought here by travelers returning from already infected countries. There were no signs that anyone had been bitten by an infected mosquito here on American soil. However, it did seem only a matter of time for this to change. Mosquitoes that bite a human with Zika can become infected. Due to rising numbers of people with the virus, the risk of a mosquitoes contracting it becomes greater. At the end of July, it appears that is just what happened. On August 6th, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, reported in an interview with NPR that there are 13 people in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami Florida that have been infected by a Mosquito bite. The CDC urges women who are pregnant or considering starting a family not to travel near this area in Miami.

South Carolina is Likely To Be Next

The Post and Courier, a paper out of Charleston, spoke with local entomologist Dwight Williams, and he believes that it is “very likely” that mosquitoes in South Carolina will also begin to transmit Zika to humans. The virus will make its way into the state with travelers who are sick when they arrive; they will be bitten and transmit Zika to the local mosquitoes. It is just a matter of time. There are already 25 cases of Zika in SC, none yet from a local mosquito bite.

Prevention Prevention Prevention

If you are planning to travel to Miami, be cautious. Wear protective clothing and bug spray, but more importantly, if you are pregnant just don’t go. Mosquito Squad of Greenville is committed to keeping you informed here at home. The Aedes aegypti mosquito is a very aggressive daytime biter. Their eggs hatch in containers that hold water, but can also survive drought. The CDC believes these to be very adaptable organisms, making them harder to control, but certainly not impossible.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville

We must be diligent in keeping our homes and neighborhoods protected. Follow the 5Ts of mosquito control and don’t allow your yard to be a breeding ground for this or any other disease carrying mosquito. And call us… Mosquito Squad of Greenville wants to help with your peace of mind. Our mosquito prevention systems will eliminate 85-90% of adult mosquitoes in your yard on contact so that all you have to do is relax and enjoy your outdoors. Keep your home, your family, and your possible growing family protected. Contact us at 864-277-4299 or email us greenville@mosquitosquad.com. We back our service with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!

The Olympic Games Cause a Zika Dilemma for Some Athletes

Rio-Olympics-ZikaThe 2016 Summer Olympic Games begin August 5th and for 17 days we will watch athletes from all over the world become their own hometown heroes. Every TV in every bar and restaurant downtown, from North Main to Falls Park, will be set to watch as one of our very own heroes competes in Brazil. Sandi Morris, a Greenville native, not only qualified for the Olympics on Saturday, July 23rd as a pole vaulter, she also broke an American record. Morris had to work her way back from an injury earlier in the year. However, she is considered to be one of the best pole vaulters in the world.

A Teensy Obstacle in a Life-Long Dream

What might these athletes be thinking about as they prepare for their trip to Brazil? The mental and physical challenges ahead are probably in the forefront of their minds. Unfortunately somewhere in there could be concerns about Zika Virus as well. American cyclist Tejay van Garderen and golf star Jordan Spieth are two of several athletes that have opted out of the Olympics completely due to these concerns, according to CNN.  

Zika in Brazil

Greenville_Aedes-Aegypti-Zika-carrierThe CDC calls the Zika outbreak in Brazil “dynamic.” They recommend that pregnant women not go to the Olympics at all, due to the severe birth defects that Zika can cause. They also remind travelers that as well as being mosquito-borne, Zika is sexually transmitted so if you contract it in Brazil, you can bring it home to your partner. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, it is important to check and follow the CDC guidelines.

There do seem to be conflicting opinions of how much Zika will affect other travelers to the Olympics and if it really puts the U.S. at risk of an outbreak upon these travelers return. CNBC reports on a study from the Yale School of Public Health that suggests a traveler to the Olympics has a very small chance of contracting the illness and an even lower one of bringing it home. And on the opposing side Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University, joined 149 other bioethicists, scientists, and doctors in calling for postponing the Olympics or moving them from Brazil due to the outbreak. This group is critical of the Yale report with Caplan saying “it makes the usual conservative assumptions.”

Prevention is Never Negative

So what does this conflicting Zika information do for us? It reminds us that this is an unpredictable situation, and all decisions are best considered with information and caution. As we at Mosquito Squad of Greenville cheer on the US Olympic teams, including our very own Sandi Morris, we remind all travelers of the risks. Not only is there a risk for pregnant women and the chance of infecting a partner through sexual contact, but the virus can also be transmitted to local mosquitoes if an infected human brings it into the states. It is vital to avoid mosquitoes 7-10 days upon return if you travel to Brazil or any other country with an outbreak.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville

With Mosquito Squad of Greenville’s time released barrier spray, avoiding mosquitoes at home is made simple. We eliminate 85-90% of mosquitoes in your yard. Call us today so your travel planning is about fun and adventure, not mosquito concerns when you get home! 864-277-4299

Polio, Measles, Mumps, Smallpox, Zika Virus?

Zika-Vaccine-human-testingThere are many ground-breaking vaccines in the world today. They were all developed due to great necessity during times of devastating and even deadly illnesses spreading across the country and sometimes globe. When a new infectious disease arrives on our radar, developing a vaccine is one of the very first items on the to-do list. It is no different with mosquito-borne and tick-borne diseases. If there is a way to offer added protection, allowing people to enjoy the outdoors without worry, we should pursue it.

Zika Vaccine in Greenville

Zika-Virus-GreenvilleWith the arrival of the Zika Virus on the scene, here in South Carolina, we would rather avoid it becoming a locally transmitted disease. As we watch the devastating effects on newborn babies and their families, we hope to stop this terrible virus in its tracks. It is best to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best in a case like this. To that end, we are pleased to share with you that the first Zika Vaccine has been approved for human trials by the FDA.

Human trials do not mean we could have a Zika Vaccine available for use soon. In fact, when it comes to vaccine development, it can take years to go from the first trials to market. This first human trial has been approved for a private company called Inovio to test their vaccine for human safety. They have tested the vaccine in monkeys for effectiveness and are ready to begin the human phase of testing. Their vaccine has a unique formula but also features a new delivery method that features a pulse of electricity for more efficient delivery to the immune cells.

Many Zika Vaccines in the Works

There are other government sponsored vaccines in the works that should also go to human trials within a few months. Having many trials going should add up to arriving at a working and approved vaccine that much sooner. Until then, lowering your exposure to mosquitoes and mosquito bites is your best form of prevention.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville

At Mosquito Squad of Greenville, we never guarantee protection from tick-borne disease and mosquito-borne disease. But we do know that lowering your exposure to mosquitoes is an important piece of a well-rounded mosquito-borne disease prevention plan. Our traditional barrier spray eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes on your property and continues to work for up to 3 weeks. Sign up for the season and we’ll automatically come back every 2-3 weeks to keep your yard pest free all summer. Call today. (864) 277-4299

Source: NBC News

“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” Greenville Prepares for Zika Virus Potential

zika-testing-in-GreenvilleDid you know local testing for Zika Virus has begun? Over 100 South Carolinians have been tested for the Zika Virus. While only one resident has been found to have Zika and it was a travel-related case, Greenville is prepared for the potential for a local Zika Virus outbreak. From mosquito monitoring, mosquito abatement, emergency response and health care – in true Southern fashion, bring it on Zika, we’re ready!

Greenville Mosquito-Borne Virus Monitoring

Monitoring local mosquito populations for mosquito-borne disease such as West Nile Virus, LaCrosse Encephalitis, Easter Equine Encephalitis has been a long time activity of South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). In partnership with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the DHEC samples local mosquito populations so they can stay abreast of any potential outbreaks. By monitoring these diseases in mosquitoes, humans, birds and horses, it is believed they will know relatively quickly if a worrisome outbreak occurs. They then report the arbovirus activity to health-care providers, local mosquito control and the public. If a particular area is experiencing increased activity, healthcare providers can diagnose better; mosquito control efforts can be ramped up, and the general public can take extra precautions at home.

Local Mosquito Control Efforts

Mosquito Squad of Greenville's barrier sprayMany local municipalities provide some mosquito control, although limited by budgets. These efforts are mostly based on complaints from the local population. Greenville County, for instance, provides mosquito control for Greenville, Simpsonville and Traveler’s Rest. They also are cleaning up trash where mosquitoes could breed. Your local mosquito control hotline can be found at SCDHEC.gov. Greer cut their mosquito control efforts during the recession, but can get service from the city of Greenville if you call to request it. If your city or county doesn’t offer mosquito control, be sure to call us at Mosquito Squad of Greenville – we’ve got your back!

Zika Preparedness in Greenville Healthcare

According to Greenville Online, Greenville Health System has a biological readiness plan that includes Zika Virus outbreak readiness. The plan includes laboratory support, disease evaluation and hospital readiness. They are following all CDC guidelines in regards to considering Zika as a possibility in patients with symptoms who have traveled to affected areas. The staff has also prepared with additional training in obstetrics and pediatrics for diagnosing and managing the negative health effects that could result from a pregnant woman becoming infected with Zika.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville.
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville, with Tillman.

While the city and county of Greenville are prepared for the Zika Virus, it would be best to avoid the virus altogether. Avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites is your best method of Zika prevention. At Mosquito Squad of Greenville we can keep your yard mosquito free all season long with our traditional mosquito barrier spray. Eliminating 85-90% of mosquitoes in your yard on contact, our barrier spray continues to work for up to 21 days. Call today 864-277-4299

The Zika Virus is Worse than Expected

Over the past week, the Zika Virus has returned to the news in a big way. It all started when the CDC reported that the negative health effects of the Zika Virus are worse than they suspected as research is uncovering more complications in those infected by the Virus. Along with the CDC’s statement, there have been several new reports released since we last updated you, bear with us as we give you the run down.

Zika-research-discovers-more-health-complications

Zika Virus has Been Confirmed as a Cause of Microcephaly in Infants

The increase in microcephaly in infants in Brazil coinciding with a Zika Virus epidemic is what brought the Zika Virus into the world spotlight. Scientists have been working diligently to confirm the link between Zika Virus in pregnant women and microcephaly in infants. This week they have confirmed the causal relationship that Zika Virus can indeed cause microcephaly in infants whose pregnant mother becomes infected with the virus. Medscape reported in their story that a mother infected in the 1st and 2nd trimesters, when brain development is at its peak, increases the risk for microcephaly in her baby. There are many more studies underway to determine the risk of other birth defects (and the extent of the risk.) Right now the range is broad, between 1-29% of pregnant women infected with Zika Virus will have a baby with microcephaly.

Zika-causes-microcephaly-in-infants

More Zika Birth Defects

The New England Journal of Medicine reported on a study that found a variety of other birth defects linked to Zika Virus infection during pregnancy. The range of defects includes cerebral calcification, central nervous system alterations, intrauterine growth restrictions, abnormal arterial flow in the umbilical arteries and cerebral arteries, developmental failure in part of the brain, Macular hypoplasia, Blake’s pouch cyst, insufficient amniotic fluid, microcephaly and even resulted in 2 stillbirths. With these new potential birth defects along with the confirmation of microcephaly being caused by Zika, it is more important than ever to follow the CDC’s advice for couples thinking about pregnancy. Zika Virus can be transmitted through sexual activity, meaning couples exposed to Zika need to take extra precautions if they are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.

Zika Has Been Linked to Health Complications Outside of Pregnancy & Newborns

Two major health complications in non-pregnant/non-newborn individuals have been linked to Zika Virus. While there are many more studies needed to confirm the link, Zika is suspected to cause Guillain-Barre syndrome and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Both Guillain-Barre and ADEM are auto-immune disorders that can severely disrupt the lives of those affected. Guillain-Barre can even lead to death if not treated promptly and effectively. Auto-immune disorders are when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body.

CDC 2016 Zika Virus Mosquito Range United States

The Zika Mosquito’s Geographical Reach has Been Expanded

Not long before the news broke of the extent of the Zika Virus’s health effects, the CDC updated their report on the geographical reach of the Zika transmitting mosquitoes Aedes Aegypti & Aedes Albopictus. While both mosquitos were already reported as being in Greenville and Spartanburg area, the rest of the United States is experiencing an increased risk as the number went from 12 states to 30 states affected.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville.
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville, with Tillman.

As we await the Zika Virus to play out during the 2016 mosquito season, it is vital that we think of prevention as the best method of protection. Start by following the CDC’s travel guide, advising pregnant women not to travel to affected countries. Avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites is really the best way to lower your risk. Following the 5 T’s of mosquito control will help lower the population of mosquitoes in your yard, but Mosquito Squad of Greenville’s traditional barrier spray is the best way to eliminate mosquitoes from your yard long term. Our barrier treatment eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes in your yard and works for up to 3 weeks. Sign up for the season and we’ll come back every 2-3 weeks automatically, you don’t have to do a thing. Call today 864-277-4299.

Is the Zika Mosquito in Greenville?

A common question, with an easy answer: Yes. The Aedes Aegypti & the Aedes Albopictus (Asian Tiger) mosquitoes call Greenville and all of the Southeast United States home. These mosquitoes are easy to detect by their daytime feeding habits and the stripes on their bodies and legs that are their namesake. While the Aedes Aegypti is the main mosquito being blamed for current Zika outbreaks in Colombia and Brazil, there are potentially more mosquitoes capable of carrying & transmitting the Zika Virus. We will update you with that information as it becomes available.

The Aedes Aegypti

Greenville_Aedes-Aegypti-Zika-carrierWidely known as the “yellow fever mosquito”, the Aedes Aegypti is an especially dangerous disease vector with its daytime feeding habits and container habitation. Commonly using unused flower pots or spare tires for its breeding grounds, the Aedes Aegypti thrives quite well in urban areas. These mosquitoes look very similar to the Asian Tiger mosquito with white stripes on the legs and body. The key difference being the white scales above its head on the thorax in the shape of a violin. Aedes Aegypti are key vectors in spreading many diseases such as chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever and Zika Virus.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito

The Asian Tiger mosquitoes (Aedes Albopictus) hails from the same mosquito family as the Aedes Aegtypti. They surprisingly have lead to the decline of the Aedes Aegypti in the Southeast United States as their larval forms out compete the Aedes Aegypti larvae. Like the Aedes Aegypti, the Asian Tiger mosquito thrives in fresh water stored in containers. They survive well in urban/suburban areas and are also a daytime feeder. Their appearance is very similar to the Aedes Aegypti, the key difference being the white stripe running down the center of the head and thorax. The Asian Tiger mosquito is vector of many diseases such as dengue fever, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Zika Virus.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville.
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville, with Tillman.

One of your best lines of defense against these aggressive mosquitoes is to eliminate standing water in your yard. Follow our 5 T’s of Mosquito Control for checking your property for mosquito breeding risks. To gain peace of mind, be sure to give us a call, we can eliminate 85% of all species of mosquitoes on your property with our mosquito barrier spray. 864-277-4299 Take back your yard with help from Mosquito Squad of Greenville.

The Zika Virus in Greenville: Everything You Need To Know

The Zika Virus is a little known mosquito-borne virus that is extremely dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. It has been in the news recently with a confirmed case of Zika in Texas, a Hawaiian-born baby with Zika related microcephaly and a travel warning issued by the CDC for pregnant women traveling to countries where transmission is ongoing.

What is the Zika Virus?

Zika is pread to people through mosquito bites, specifically the Aedes Aegypti. The same mosquito that spreads the dengue fever and yellow fever. The Zika virus was predominantly found in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Recent outbreaks are occurring in the Americas, especially Brazil and Northeast South America, the Caribbean and Mexico. View the CDC’s geo-tracking of Zika for the latest information. United States cases have so far only been confirmed in returning travelers.

aedes aegypti_Zika-Virus-Prevention-Greenville
Zika transmitting Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

What are the symptoms of Zika virus?

Symptoms of Zika are usually mild, with only 1 in 5 infected becoming ill. According to the CDC, the most commonly experienced symptoms can be fever, joint pain, rash or conjunctivitis. Other symptoms may include a headache and muscle pain. Symptoms can last several days to a week and deaths are rare. If you have recently traveled and experience similar symptoms, see your doctor who may order blood tests to identify the virus. There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Zika. Like many other viruses you can treat the symptoms with plenty of fluids and rest. Avoid NSAIDS like ibuprofen and naproxen until dengue fever is ruled out, as symptoms are similar.

If you have Zika, avoid mosquitoes for the first week of infection. During the first week, Zika can be passed from infected person to another mosquito.

The Dangers of Zika for Pregnant Women

While Zika symptoms are usually mild, if at all, the danger comes in the link to a neurological disorder called microcephaly in newborns whose mother has had the virus. Microcephaly is a birth defect that causes a baby’s head to be smaller than expected relative to babies of the same gender and age. Often babies with microcephaly have smaller brains that may not develop properly. Depending on the severity of the microcephaly, a baby may have a range of other problems from seizures, developmental delays, intellectual disability, feeding problems, hearing or vision problems or problems with movement and balance. These problems can be lifelong and life-threatening.

Brazil is the center of the largest outbreak, with microcephaly cases in infants skyrocketing to 3,500 cases in the last 4 months, whereas there were only 147 cases in 2014 altogether. The link between microcephaly and Zika virus is still being nailed down while more studies are in progress to figure out the relationship. Until then if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you may want to delay any travels to Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville.
Billy & Michele Scales, owners of Mosquito Squad of Greenville.

Keep your family safe by avoiding mosquitoes altogether with help from Mosquito Squad of Greenville. Our traditional barrier spray eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes in your yard. Visit our website for more information on Greenville mosquito control. Call or email today to sign up for the season. greenville@mosquitosquad.com 864-277-4299

Always remember to follow the 5T’s of Mosquito Control for making your yard less favorable to mosquitoes.