Zika Virus Disease: How to Protect Yourself and Your Pets

mosquito zika virus

If you have been monitoring the news lately, there have been a lot of stories about the Zika virus. As a service to the community, we have prepared this short question and answer blog to help people understand a little more about the Zika virus and what they can do about it.

By no means is this blog meant to be comprehensive, but it does highlight the more relevant points about Zika. If you wish to learn more about the Zika virus we suggest you consult your healthcare professional. In addition, you might want to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website listed at the bottom of this article.

What is Zika Virus Disease (Zika)?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.”

What are the symptoms of Zika?
Typical symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, “pink eye” (conjunctivitis). Symptoms usually last several days to a week. In very few cases people who contract the virus require hospitalization. Rarely do people die from Zika.

Is Zika Dangerous to Pregnant Women?
According to the CDC, there have been “reports in Brazil of microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant.”

Has the United States been greatly affected by the Zika virus?
At the time of this writing, the U.S. is not in any danger of experiencing an outbreak of the Zika virus. However, in Florida there have been nine known cases of people contracting the disease, but these are people who have travelled to countries where the disease is prevalent.

Is there a treatment for Zika?
At this time, there is no known treatment for the virus. However, if you are diagnosed with Zika, it is highly recommend that you get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluid to avoid dehydration, and talk to your healthcare provider about taking any medications.

What about pets?
As of this writing, studies have not been done to determine if the Zika virus affects dogs and cats. Mosquitoes prefer feeding off humans rather pets. So for now, your dogs and cats are safe. However, pets that are accustomed to going outdoors and then indoors can act as “taxis” and bring mosquitoes and mosquito larvae into your home.

How Can You Protect Yourself, Loved Ones and Pets from Zika?
There is no surefire way to avoid mosquitoes that might be carrying the Zika virus.

However, as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Therefore, we prepared some helpful tips to help you safeguard against mosquitoes:

  1. Remove standing water from around your home. Water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Therefore, it is a good idea to remove any standing water from flower pots, bowls or buckets.
  2. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when going outdoors.
  3. Stay in air-conditioned places.
  4. Install screens on your windows and doors.
  5. Apply insect repellents that are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – registered.
  6. Use flea and tick collars and spot on topical for cats and dogs. They are known to kill mosquitoes.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/disease-qa.html Accessed on 2/5/16.

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