The United States Lacks Mosquito Controls to Prevent the Spread of Zika

All but 10 American States may be at risk from the Zika Virus in the near future according to the latest data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. It was previously thought that only the south-east of the country may be at risk, but new studies, including one undertaken by the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington D.C. have found that there could be a danger of the virus spreading across most of the country, from Maine to Southern California. However, they admit that this new study is still not a perfect representation as it tracks mosquitoes that carry West Nile Virus, rather than the species that carries Zika. Essentially, it is nothing more than a guess about the whereabouts of mosquitoes that could infect people with Zika. It may be impossible to tell exactly how widespread the real problem could be until it happens.

The Zika Virus, which is contracted primarily from mosquitoes, has the greatest dangers for pregnant women and their unborn babies. It can cause a condition known as microcephaly, where the head and brain of the unborn baby are smaller than usual. In some cases this can be fatal.

The potential problem is exacerbated by the fact that most of the United States has no effective way of tracking and controlling the spread of mosquitoes, whilst almost half of the country has no mechanism at all. This includes some counties in states that are thought to be at high risk, such as Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Even in the places that do have some form of mosquito control, they are usually focused on managing the pest of mosquito bites, rather than controlling diseases that they may spread.

However, the bad news does not end there, because even in places that have mechanisms for tracking and controlling mosquitoes, these mechanisms are not necessarily reliable. It is believed that many mosquitoes are resistant to certain pesticides which are used to control their numbers across the country.  There is clearly a desperate need for more effective mosquito controls and research into which pesticides different types of mosquitoes may be resistant to across the United States.

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