High Temperatures makes Zika Mosquito spread disease more. what is Zika virus, Zika, a mosquito-borne virus. It is found in tropical locales with large mosquito populations. Outbreaks of Zika virus disease have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Southern Asia and Western Pacific. The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys and was first identified in people in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania, according to the WHO. Zika virus mainly transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that the Zika virus outbreak is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Zika virus is prompting worldwide concern because of its alarming connection to a neurological birth disorder. Zika virus infection is a mild febrile viral illness transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. Dengue and chikungunya spread through the same mosquitoes that transfer Zika. So far, the virus has been spread over at least 24 countries across the globe and Brazil has seen the highest number of people affected.
Symptoms of Zika:
Those who do usually have mild symptoms lasting two to seven days, such as fever, rash, headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, lack of energy, weakness and pink eye. It typically takes three to 12 days for illness to develop after a mosquito bite.
How Zika virus spread:
Mosquitoes carried it from person to person as they do diseases like malaria and yellow fever.
Warmer air incubates the virus faster in the cold-blooded mosquito. So the insect has more time to be infectious and alive to spread the disease. Warmer temperatures also make the mosquito hungrier, so it takes more “blood meals” and can spread the disease to more people.
The most important point is to avoid travelling to affected areas such as Latin American countries like Brazil, and the Caribbean, especially pregnant women and women who are planning a child. Dr Brian Levine, a New York City fertility doctor, “spent the majority of the last week counselling patients about (the) Zika virus. I’ve had to have discussions about cancelling babymoons, cancelling trips before starting in vitro fertilisation and even having husbands provide a frozen semen sample because they plan on travelling to a Zika-affected region for work.”
Also, there is a sexual means of transmitting the virus too as it lives in the semen for a long time, so it’s important to know if your partner has been to any Zika-affected region in the recent past, advises Dr Singh. As reports confirm the Texas, US, case to be transferred sexually, it becomes all the more crucial to make sure sexual partners who have visited those regions get themselves checked.
“As with all mosquito-borne viruses, climate is one of many factors that influence Zika transmission,” said Andy Monaghan, a scientist who works on public health impacts of climate change at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “I think it is too early to say anything about the role of climate change in the ongoing Zika outbreak.”
However, Monaghan earlier this year presented a paper to the American Meteorological Society’s annual convention that predicts that eventually Aedes aegypti “will move northward in the U.S. due to future warming, which would expose people to the mosquito on a regular seasonal basis in states like Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and D.C.”
Pre precaution for Zika virus
- Prevent mosquito breeding around houses.
- Use mosquito repellents to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- Non-essential travel to the affected countries in the Latin American region and the Caribbean should be deferred/cancelled.
- Pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant should defer/cancel their travel to the affected areas.
- All travellers to the affected countries/areas should strictly follow individual protective measures, especially during the day, to prevent mosquito bites (use of mosquito repellant cream, electronic mosquito repellants, use of bed nets, and dress that appropriately covers most of the body parts).
- Persons with co-morbid conditions (diabetes, hypertension, chronic respiratory illness, immunity disorders, etc.) should seek advice from the nearest health facility, prior to travel to an affected country.
- Travellers who complain of fever within two weeks of return from an affected country should report to the nearest health facility.
- Pregnant women who have travelled to areas with Zika virus transmission should mention about their travel during ante-natal visits in order to be assessed and monitored appropriately.