What Could Have Caused The Zika Virus Outbreak?
Recently, one of the most talked-about disease outbreaks is the Zika Virus. The virus is not a new disease as it has been known to exist since about 1947. However, it has not made its presence known in the United States until about May of 2015. In less than a year, a huge outbreak seems imminent and there are areas of the country that have since called for a state of emergency. The epicenter of the outbreak is in Brazil but Zika Virus has traveled to areas in Asia, Europe, America and even Australia. It has people everywhere scared; especially those most susceptible. The Zika virus is linked to a bite by an infected mosquito. The virus is transferred to a person from an infected mosquito and is especially hard on soon to be mothers. Zika virus has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly; a condition in which a baby is born with a small head. The risk of the virus coming in contact with someone really depends on the area that you live in, the interaction that your area has with mosquitoes in general and your sharing of bodily fluids with infected people. It is believed Zika Virus can be transmitted from person to person through sexual intercourse and possibly even through saliva. This means kissing or even sharing cutlery!
A-Tex Pest Management has some interesting information about some genetically modified mosquitoes that could be part of the possible epidemic.
Genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes were released into the jungles of Brazil in the hopes that it would help to control other viruses such as dengue fever and chikungunya. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes carry dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika Virus. The plan was that these genetically modified mosquitoes would breed with other mosquitoes and help to lessen the number of mosquitoes that are carrying these dangerous viruses. Male genetically modified mosquitoes were released that would breed with females. The eggs the female lays would hatch but die before adulthood as these offspring require the presence of a chemical called tetracycline to survive. Studies showed the release of these genetically modified mosquitoes could decrease Aedes aegypti mosquito populations by up to 90%! The problem is that the mosquitoes were only supposed to survive at a rate of about four percent but scientists believe now that a survival rate of closer to fifteen percent is more likely. Tetracycline is not as uncommon in Brazil as first thought. Brazil is actually third in the world for its use of tetracycline as an antibiotic used in its food animals! Also, these mosquitoes should only travel around a quarter of a mile but they seem to have adapted and traveled much further. In addition, it is believed that some female genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes could have also been released – and these mosquitoes could potentially become infected and bite humans! The interesting fact about the new genetically modified mosquito release is the close proximity to the new outbreak of the Zika Virus’ epicenter in Brazil. Within three years the virus that was thought to have been controlled has taken a turn for the worst. It should also be noted that in 2009, shortly after the release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the Caymans, cases of Dengue fever in Florida doubled. Last month, Florida declared a public health emergency for the Zika Virus. Although the outbreak has not been officially linked to the specific genetically modified mosquito, it appears to be more than just a coincidence and will be looked into further so that a plan of action can be put together and perhaps a stop to the release of genetically modified mosquitoes.
Mosquito Pest Inspections, Control & Treatment in Austin, Round Rock, Leander, Pflugerville & Cedar Park Texas.
In the meantime, if you have any concerns that you are being exposed to mosquitoes in your backyard, you should do everything that you can do to remedy the situation. A new study alarmingly suggests that southeastern Texas and Florida are the most vulnerable parts of the continental United States to incursion by the Zika virus. You can call a pest control company like A-Tex Pest Management that has the necessary tools, trusty equipment, effective products and extensive experience in treating homes and businesses for mosquitoes.