What is Zika
Zika is a virus that spreads to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Zika can also be transmitted through sex with a man infected with Zika and it can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus.
How Zika Spreads
Mosquitos that carry Zika are aggressive daytime biters, but they also bite at night. A mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person already infected with Zika. The mosquito spreads the virus by biting more people. The Zika virus can also spread during sex and from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Although not yet confirmed, Zika may also spread through blood transfusions.
Most people infected won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are:
- Joint pain
- Red eyes
- Muscle pain
Symptoms can last for several days to a week. Once a person has been infected with Zika, they are likely protected from future infections.
How to Protect Yourself from Zika
There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent it is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Some steps you can take to prevent Zika are:
- Use insect repellent. When used as directed, repellents are proven safe and effective.
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants
- Stay in places with air conditioning and windows and door screens
- Eliminate standing water inside and around your home
- Cover cribs, strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting
- Avoid travel to areas where Zika virus is spreading
How to Reduce Mosquito Population
The best way to reduce the mosquito population is to eliminate the places where they breed. Mosquitos require water to breed. Many mosquito related problems can come from water-filled containers that can be eliminated. Make sure you drain, fill or eliminate any area around your home that holds water.
- Clean gutters regularly
- Change water in bird baths and flower pots regularly
- Empty and turn empty containers
- Maintain swimming pools with proper pool chemicals
- Clean drainage ditches of debris and weeds
Local Mosquito Control
- Charleston County Mosquito Control provides mosquito control services to Charleston County and the Isle of Palms. For more information about their mosquito control programs and ground and aerial spray schedules, contact them at (843) 202-7880
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Charleston County Government