Experts predict that Zika – a mosquito-borne virus – will travel to the Southern U.S. Although experts are not sure when the virus may spread, they are certain that it is only a matter of time that the birth-defect illness will make its way into America.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have already introduced travel warnings to the countries affected by the Zika virus, especially for pregnant women who are at highest risk.
Reports of birth defects in Brazil due to the Zika virus have already accounted for 3,900 babies born with defects. Worse yet, doctors are still unsure how exactly the virus affects unborn babies but only know that it can lead to serious birth defects including microcephaly.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent the virus or a cure, and researchers believe it could take years for a vaccine to be developed.
Transmission of the virus occurs when Aedes aegypti mosquito feeds from an infected person and feeds on another person.
Recently, there have been cases of the Zika virus in Texas, Hawaii, Illinois and Florida.
The CDC cautioned, “With the recent outbreaks in the Pacific Islands and South America, the number of Zika cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States will likely increase. These imported cases may result in local spread of the virus in some areas of the United States.”
Dawn Wesson, an associate professor of tropical medicine at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, added, “There’s a good chance we’ll see it this coming summer, given what we saw with chikungunya two years ago.”
The mosquitoes prefer warmer climates, making Southern Florida, Southern California and Hawaii targeted areas. There are ways to reduce your risk of mosquito bites, such as removing standing water and liberally applying bug repellant.