As we are now in the warm and wet season of the year, it is important to consider mosquito control practices at home and in the community. Worldwide mosquitoes can spread many types of viruses and parasites that can cause diseases like chikungunya, dengue, West Nile, Zika, and malaria. Mosquitoes in Ohio are known to carry West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, LaCrosse, and St. Louis Encephalitis virus.
Using resources from the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fulton County Health Department has developed a mosquito control campaign. This educational campaign focuses on best practices for eliminating larval habitats for mosquitoes, and preventing the transmission of viruses spread by mosquitoes.
As part of this campaign, Fulton County Health Department is offering educational presentations, the first of which will be conducted at the Swancreek Township meeting on May 16 at 7 p.m.
Zika virus continues to be a health concern for travelers. Zika virus is a disease that is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes. There have been no reported cases of Zika virus disease transmission through mosquito bites in Ohio or anywhere else in the continental US at this time.
As of April 25, 12 human cases of Zika virus were identified in Ohio. All were acquired outside of Ohio during travel to affected areas.
Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes, muscle pain and headache. About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus will develop symptoms. If you have recently traveled to an area with Zika and you develop symptoms, see your healthcare provider.
Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus. It may cause microcephaly, a serious birth defect. Pregnant women should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading.
Pregnant women returning from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission should talk with their healthcare provider about testing, even if they do not have symptoms.
Zika virus can also be transmitted from a man to a woman through sexual contact. CDC recommends that men who have traveled to Zika-affected areas should use condoms or not have sex with a pregnant partner. CDC also recommends that couples trying to get pregnant talk to a healthcare provider before traveling to Zika-affected areas.
It is important to remember that mosquitoes can transmit a variety of diseases including West Nile Virus, chikungunya and Zika. There is no vaccine for these diseases. Preventing mosquito bites at home and when traveling is the best way to prevent infection.
Mosquitoes can lay eggs in as little as a teaspoon of water and can hatch in just three to four days. Mosquitoes that breed in yards generally remain nearby. Keeping your property free of potential breeding spots will help protect you and your family.
For additional information on mosquito control and Zika virus, please visit the Fulton County Health Department website at www.fultoncountyhealthdept.com.