On Feb. 1, 2016, the Zika virus was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). Spread through the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with the virus, Zika was named for the forest in Uganda in which it was originally discovered in 1947. Five years later, the first human cases were reported and since then there have been outbreaks of the disease in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas, asserted the WHO.
New to the western hemisphere, the Zika virus has been causing much alarm following the Pan American Health Organization's alert confirming the first reported Zika virus disease in Brazil in May 2015. Since last spring, many other countries have also declared outbreaks of the disease and it is only expected to spread, according to the source. Due to the growing concern that the disease can cause birth defects, pregnant women have increasingly been advised to avoid traveling to a number of countries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that confirmed cases of the disease have been reported in U.S. territories Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and America Samoa. While no mosquito-borne Zika virus cases have been reported in the U.S. thus far, travel-associated cases have been - meaning that travelers to these countries have returned with symptoms of the virus. Travelers coming and going will likely cause an increase in the risk of disease in the U.S. and Canada.
According to the PAHO, rash, mild fever, conjunctivitis and muscle pain are the most common symptoms of the Zika virus and they typically occur about 2 to 7 days after an individual is bit by an infected mosquito. Only 1 out of every 4 people will develop the signs. For those who do, symptoms tend to be mild and last for about one week. Because symptoms are similar to those of yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya - because these diseases are spread through the same mosquito - it may sometimes be hard to diagnose. If you have recently traveled to a region where Zika is found, the CDC advised seeing your health care provider.
The biggest concern, reported the New York Times, is that the Zika virus may cause brain damage in infants, however experts can't confirm how it happens or if the disease is even the cause. Yet reports have still suggested that Zika may cause microcephaly following the increase of babies in Brazil born with this condition since last October. Microcephaly causes small heads and sometimes brain damage in infants. Cases vary from infant to infant but sometimes developmental delays, loss of hearing or intellectual complications may occur reported the news source. There is currently no treatment and ongoing research to find concrete facts still continues.
The best form of prevention is to avoid areas in which Aedes species mosquitoes are known to be found. If travel is necessary, the CDC has suggested taking all proper precautions and using EPA-registered insect repellents and following the labels accordingly, reapplying as often as suggested. Stay in places with air conditioning or mosquito-proof screens and windows. For those living in areas where the Zika virus is known to be present, the PAHO advised sleeping under mosquito nets, use repellents and covering exposed skin with long shirts, socks and pants. These considerations are especially vital for those who are pregnant.
As there are still no treatments available for the Zika virus, the WHO has suggested getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids and treating the fever and pain with normal medication. If symptoms persist, seek medical care.
Because of the high amount of traffic and the versatility of the facilities, pests are naturally attracted to long-term care institutions. Many nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and other care facilities include on-site kitchens and cafeterias as well as private rooms and common spaces. All of these places are susceptible to attracting pests because of the presence of food, water and viable habitats.
During the summer months, some people love to go camping with family and friends. Yet this fun trip can be ruined with a few unwanted visitors, most notably different types of bugs. Crawling spiders, hungry mosquitoes and buzzing flies can become annoying quickly. How can you avoid these pests when you're outdoors? Consider these tips to keep bugs out of your campsite.
Carpenter ants can chew through the strongest studs and stringers in a house as they hollow the wooden beams out for nesting. The resulting damage can weaken the home's structural support and require expensive repairs. Professional pest control workers can remove a colony of ants, but the best practice for homeowners is to learn the best ways to keep out an ant colony and prevent the problem before it begins.
As the weather cools, you'll probably see fewer pests than you did during the warmer months, but that doesn't mean they're all gone just yet. Some insects can actually come out in full force during the autumn, while others might seek refuge in your warm home. Here are some key tips to keep in mind as fall gets underway:
As the middle of summer approaches, you need to be vigilant about keeping your garden free of pests. Many insects breed during the summertime, which means they're on the lookout for great places to lay their eggs. For many bugs, that means near a source of food. In fact, some species of insects will lay their eggs inside budding vegetables and fruit so their larvae have something to eat as soon as they hatch. That's why you have to keep harmful bugs out without damaging the bugs that could help you, such as bumble bees.
You might have noticed that, with the exception of the kitchen, you find more pests in your bathroom than in the rest of your home. This is because insects and rodents see the bathroom as a convenient watering hole. Pests love leaky pipes and standing water because these offer them a hydrating oasis in the otherwise dry biome that is your house or apartment. And if your bathroom develops mold, all the better for pests, who may eat fungus or use it to lay their eggs.
The kitchen is largest gathering place for pests in a residential home. The reason is simple: pests can grab a bite to eat and take a sip of water while they're here. And when they find such a bountiful place, they will return home to their nests and report the finding - before you know it, your whole pantry is a buffet for ants! The problem could get even worse if a piece of food falls somewhere and begins to rot. Similarly, fruit and vegetables you bring into your home may be harboring unseen pests waiting to hatch.
In the summer months, people love to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Some even venture to farmers markets where the food is cheaper. However, not only do fruits come home with you, fruit flies may too. Once they've gotten acclimated in your home, they might stay all summer. These pests breed quickly, and tend to spread through whatever food you've got around. They also are happy to join in on any meal you have, be it a sit-down dinner or a barbecue in your backyard. Worst of all, like other flies, they carry disease. Consider these tips on how to prevent fruit flies from coming home with you.