In mid-August, the first confirmed Zika virus case was reported in East Texas. The case is travel related, which is one positive aspect of the particular case. The woman who had traveled to visit friends and family in Puerto Rico is believed to have contracted the disease there. Fortunately, she is not pregnant. A second case in September in Upshur County was also travel related. The question of procedures to follow is one which is troubling Texas health authorities throughout Texas. A total of 122 cases in Texas have been reported, all travel related. As the cooler weather arrives, mosquitoes die off, so until that time, residents must make sure their homes and businesses are properly cooled.
The mosquitoes do not like cold weather, so cooler temperatures are a welcome sign that the disease may peak. The disease is most dangerous for pregnant women, which is why travel to areas where the disease is prevalent due to local mosquito populations is not recommended. For the existing East Texas cases, where no pregnancy is involved, it is believed that the risk to the infected women is low.
There has been an increase in the number of mosquitoes in the eastern part of the state, but not the Zika carrying type. The spike in the population of the insects is due to the increased moisture, rather than because of the Zika-variety invading TX.
According to health officials, the spread of the number of cases has followed the expected pattern. What has been surprising is that severity of the symptoms for those who have contracted the disease. There has been little funding available in the affected areas of the state to fight the uptick in Zika. The best measures are prevention, using simple methods and education about the risks of travel to infected areas.
Every citizen should be aware of proven preventative measures which will help to reduce the number of mosquitoes. Wholesale spraying is not possible in the States, due to the negative effects of the mass distribution of chemicals to kill the mosquitoes. In fact, health officials say that chemical spraying is the least effective method for fighting the insects.
Elimination of potential mosquito breeding grounds is a critical element in fighting further growth in the population. Popular targets for eggs is any place where there is standing water. This includes bird baths, catch basins under plants and similar spots. Homeowners are encouraged to empty out containers, scrub them and bleach them in order to eliminate dormant eggs which can emerge later.
Officials are urging control measures and providing information about the measures in order to effect control the population of Zika and other mosquitoes. At present, cooler weather in many areas is helping to reduce the number of pesky insects which are attacking humans.
Installation of quality air conditioning systems where homeowners have not previously considered it may be a way of increasing comfort levels in the homes, as well as making the environment less attractive to the flying pests. A quality system adjusts the indoor temperature for the benefit of the inhabitants, which makes it uncomfortable for the insects which carry various diseases.