Zika virus disease (Zika) is a disease caused by the Zika virus, which is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don't get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
Zika virus was first discovered in 1947 and is named after the Zika Forest in Uganda. In 1952, the first human cases of Zika were detected and since then, outbreaks of Zika have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika outbreaks have probably occurred in many locations. Before 2007, at least 14 cases of Zika had been documented, although other cases were likely to have occurred and were not reported. Because the symptoms of Zika are similar to those of many other diseases, many cases may not have been recognized.
Residents Asked to Reduce Mosquito Population by Eliminating Standing Water - The best way to prevent mosquito bites and mosquito-borne diseases is to get rid of mosquito breeding habitats. In preparation for the upcoming mosquito season, the Calvert County Department of General Services, Mosquito Control Program is asking residents to assist in the control of mosquitoes by inspecting their properties for standing water. Any area or container that holds water for a week or more has the potential to produce hundreds, or even thousands of mosquitoes.
The county Mosquito Control Program team encourages residents to take steps to reduce the number of mosquitoes around homes and properties by eliminating standing water. In addition, residents are urged to:
- Drain or dump tarps, buckets and flower pots
- Keep roof gutters free of leaves and other debris
- Fill in tree stump holes from blown over trees as soon as possible
- Dispose of cans, plastic containers and anything else that can hold water
- Cover or drill holes in recycling containers or outside trashcans
- Turn wheelbarrows, wading pools, children's toys and other similar items over or put them away
- Store boats covered or upside down
- Clean and put fresh water in birdbaths or wading pools regularly
- Make sure your home's windows and doors have proper screening
- When outdoors wear light colored long pants and long sleeves
- Use an approved insect repellent according to manufacturers' instructions
Learn more about Zika Virus
- Maryland Department of Agriculture (Be sure to check out the video clips in the right side bar)
- Calvert County Health Department Zika Brochure (PDF)
- Fight The Bite Brochure (PDF)