Summer 2017 — Zika

Dr. Timothy Brei, left, examines Aryanna Guadalupe Sanchez-Rios during her check up on on May 5, 2017. (Photo: Heidi de Marco, Kasier Health News)

We aren’t hearing about the Zika virus as much as we did last summer, but it’s still around and still pretty scary, especially for expectant mothers.

In the summer of 2016 you may have heard zika mentioned on the news at least several times, if not more. Health officials were urging everyone, especially pregnant women, to wear bug spray with DEET when venturing outside. Being infected with the mosquito-borne virus while pregnant lead to babies born with birth defects and other health problems. Last year the US had over 5,000 reported cases (many other cases without symptoms unreported) in thousands of American cities.

The summer of 2017? As far is mid June there have already been 650 reported cases of zika in the US. However, most people don’t have symptoms and don’t even know they have the virus. Most cases go unreported.

The CDC has reported that the types of mosquito that carry Zika, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, are appearing in more counties in the southern U.S. where they haven’t been before.

It’s not going away. But officials expect reported cases to lower over time.

How do you minimize risk for zika? Keep outdoor standing water to a minimum–don’t leave kiddie pools full, water fountains with water, even plants with water-collecting areas such as bromeliads full of water, among any other place where water collects. Also, wear bug spray containing DEET.  This is especially important in the lower, warmer portion of the US, and for pregnant women.

Of pregnant women with reported cases of zika, 10% have a baby with brain damage or serious defects. One mother tells her heart-wrenching story about her daughter born with zika-related health issues in the article below:

Zika hits home: One American mom’s saga

USA Today:

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