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This Summer, Local Zika Outbreaks Possible In The US

Apr 19, 2016 04:22 AM EDT
Aedes aegypti mosquitos
After being linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly, Zika virus is now also associated to a neurological disorder that is similar to Multiple Sclerosis
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As the coming summer weather becomes more attractive to mosquitoes, Americans should prepare for possible local Zika outbreaks as the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said that it is very likely.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and other public officials from the National Institutes of Health said this weekend that many people might become infected by the virus when it spreads across the country, as per Newsweek. While the U.S. has reported 350 cases abroad and none within its borders, it is not unlikely that the Zika virus will have a local transmission as the warmer weather comes close.

The Zika virus carrier, the mosquito Aedes aegypti, is present in at least 30 states in the country.

This warning is only a few days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the virus, which was first detected in Brazil last year, can cause microcephaly in infants, along other birth defects.

The Zika virus, which can also be transmitted through sexual contact, has also been linked to the Guillain-Barre syndrome that can cause paralysis.

The urgency of the matter cannot anymore be understated, as Fauci's statement also came just a week after the Congress was urged to pass a law that would allocate around $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus.

"We have to act now," Fauci was quoted by The Guardian as saying, adding that he cannot wait to start the development of a vaccine to counter the rapidly spreading virus.

As the weather continues to heat up, several states might be hotspots for possible Zika outbreaks. According to a study published in the journal PLOS Current: Outbreaks, the Aedes aegypti mosquito may soon spread to the humid states, such as Georgia, Mississippi and California, as per a previous report.

Highly populated areas are also at high risk, such as areas in New York City, where the mosquito can easily breed in polluted areas.

While there should be no cause to panic as of the moment, Americans must do their best to prevent the breeding of the virus-carrying mosquito.

Female mosquitoes lay 250 eggs at one go in still water, which could hatch in a week or two, as per Mosquito Magnet. To prevent this breeding, water storage should be cleaned out so it would not be an ideal place to lay their eggs. Objects that can collect water, such as old tires and pots, must be also discarded. It is best to keep surrounding areas to clean so that water can drain properly and not accumulate.

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