FAQs Zika and Invasive Species

ZIKA AND INVASIVE SPECIES
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. What is Zika?

A. Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus, it is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, many of those infected will be asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms. However, when a pregnant woman is infected the virus can be passed to her fetus potentially leading to a serious birth defect called microcephaly as well as other severe fetal brain defects.

Q. How do people get infected with Zika?

A. Zika is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Also, a person with Zika can pass it to his or her sex partners. People who have travelled to or live in areas with Zika risk are encouraged to protect themselves from infection by preventing mosquito bites and practicing safe sex.

Q. What health problems can result from getting Zika?

A. Many people infected with Zika will have no symptoms or mild symptoms that last several days to a week. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Current research suggests that Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, is strongly associated with Zika; however, only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection get GBS. Once someone has been infected with Zika, it’s very likely they’ll be protected from future infections. There is no evidence that past Zika infection poses an increased risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.

Q. Should pregnant women travel to areas with risk of Zika?

A. No. Pregnant women should not travel to any area with risk of Zika. Travelers who go to places with risk of Zika can become infected, and Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe brain defects.

Q. If I am traveling to an area with risk of Zika, should I be concerned about Zika?

A. Travelers who go to places with active Zika transmission can become infected. The CDC has issued a Travel Notice for people who are traveling to areas where there is Zika activity. Many of those infected with Zika will have mild or no symptoms. However, Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects. For this reason, pregnant women should not travel to any area with risk of Zika transmission, and women trying to get pregnant should talk to their doctors before traveling or before their sex partners travel to an area with Zika transmission. It is especially important for women who are delaying or avoiding pregnancy consistently use the most effective method of birth control that they are able to use. Those traveling to areas with risk of Zika should take steps during and after they travel to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.

Q. What can people do to prevent Zika?

A. The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
  • Practice safe sex. Since Zika can be spread from person to person through sex, both male and female condoms can reduce the chance of getting infected from a partner. To be effective, condoms should be used from start to finish, every time during vaginal, anal, and oral sex and when sharing sex toys. Abstinence eliminates the risk of getting Zika from sex. Pregnant couples with a partner who traveled to or lives in an area with Zika transmission should use condoms every time they have sex or refrain from having sex during the pregnancy.
Q. What are the symptoms of Zika virus disease?

A. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have mild symptoms, which can last for several days to a week.

Q. How is Zika diagnosed?

A. To diagnose Zika, your doctor will ask you about recent travel and symptoms you may have, and collect blood or urine to test for Zika or similar viruses.

Q. Which insect repellents work best to prevent infections caused by mosquito bites?

A. To prevent Zika and other diseases spread by mosquitoes, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents on exposed skin. The insect repellent should include one of the following ingredients. DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent.

Q. How should insect repellents be used on children to prevent mosquito bites and the viruses that some mosquitoes can spread?

A. You should not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old. Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin. Adults should spray insect repellent onto their hands and then apply to a child’s face. Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.

Q. What do the invasive mosquitoes look like?

A. The Aedes aegypti is a small, dark mosquito with white lyre-shaped markings and banded legs. Aedes albopictus is a small, dark mosquito with a white dorsal stripe and banded legs.

Q. Where are invasive mosquitoes found?

A. These mosquito species often live in and around human habitation. They only require small amounts of standing water to lay eggs, eggs that do not hatch immediately can survive long periods without water only to hatch when they are re-flooded. Ideal breeding grounds include artificial or natural water containers (tires, pots, buckets, cans, rain gutters, fountains, birdbaths, etc.) and underground water sources such as open septic tanks, storm drains, wells, and water meters.

Q. When and where do the invasive mosquitoes bite?

A. These mosquitoes bite during the day, and they are most active two hours after sunrise and a few hours before sunset. However, they can bite at night as well. They typically approach their victims from behind and bite the ankles and elbows. They prefer humans, but will also take blood from dogs and other mammals.

Q. What is the life cycle of invasive mosquitoes?

A. Female mosquitoes lay eggs in water-filled containers, just above the water line, over several days. These eggs can survive for periods of six months or longer, even if they dry out temporarily. However, they cannot live through the winter in cold climates. When the eggs are flooded with water from rain, they hatch. Aedes aegypti larvae tend to eat small aquatic organisms, algae, and other plant and animal particles. After hatching, they grow into adults in as little as 8 days.

DID YOU KNOW?

Eggs of floodwater mosquitoes may remain dormant for several years, and hatch when they are covered with water.

Q. What is Zika?
A. Zika is a disease caused by the Zika virus, it is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting up to a week, many of those infected will be asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms. However, when a pregnant woman is infected the virus can be passed to her fetus potentially leading to a serious birth defect called microcephaly as well as other severe fetal brain defects.

Q. How do people get infected with Zika?
A. Zika is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). A pregnant woman can pass Zika to her fetus during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Also, a person with Zika can pass it to his or her sex partners. People who have travelled to or live in areas with Zika risk are encouraged to protect themselves from infection by preventing mosquito bites and practicing safe sex.

Q. What health problems can result from getting Zika?
A. Many people infected with Zika will have no symptoms or mild symptoms that last several days to a week. However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly as well as other severe fetal brain defects. Current research suggests that Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, is strongly associated with Zika; however, only a small proportion of people with recent Zika virus infection get GBS. Once someone has been infected with Zika, it’s very likely they’ll be protected from future infections. There is no evidence that past Zika infection poses an increased risk of birth defects in future pregnancies.

Q. Should pregnant women travel to areas with risk of Zika?
A. No. Pregnant women should not travel to any area with risk of Zika. Travelers who go to places with risk of Zika can become infected, and Zika infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe brain defects.

Q. If I am traveling to an area with risk of Zika, should I be concerned about Zika?
A. Travelers who go to places with active Zika transmission can become infected. The CDC has issued a Travel Notice for people who are traveling to areas where there is Zika activity. Many of those infected with Zika will have mild or no symptoms. However, Zika can cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects. For this reason, pregnant women should not travel to any area with risk of Zika transmission, and women trying to get pregnant should talk to their doctors before traveling or before their sex partners travel to an area with Zika transmission. It is especially important for women who are delaying or avoiding pregnancy consistently use the most effective method of birth control that they are able to use. Those traveling to areas with risk of Zika should take steps during and after they travel to prevent mosquito bites and sexual transmission of Zika.

Q. What can people do to prevent Zika?
A. The best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
• Sleep under a mosquito bed net if air conditioned or screened rooms are not available or if sleeping outdoors.
• Practice safe sex. Since Zika can be spread from person to person through sex, both male and female condoms can reduce the chance of getting infected from a partner. To be effective, condoms should be used from start to finish, every time during vaginal, anal, and oral sex and when sharing sex toys. Abstinence eliminates the risk of getting Zika from sex. Pregnant couples with a partner who traveled to or lives in an area with Zika transmission should use condoms every time they have sex or refrain from having sex during the pregnancy.

Q. What are the symptoms of Zika virus disease?
A. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, and muscle pain. Many people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms or will have mild symptoms, which can last for several days to a week.

Q. How is Zika diagnosed?
A. To diagnose Zika, your doctor will ask you about recent travel and symptoms you may have, and collect blood or urine to test for Zika or similar viruses.

Q. Which insect repellents work best to prevent infections caused by mosquito bites?
A. To prevent Zika and other diseases spread by mosquitoes, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents on exposed skin. The insect repellent should include one of the following ingredients. DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Always follow the label instructions when using insect repellent.

Q. How should insect repellents be used on children to prevent mosquito bites and the viruses that some mosquitoes can spread?
A. You should not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old. Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old. Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin. Adults should spray insect repellent onto their hands and then apply to a child’s face. Mosquito netting can be used to cover babies younger than 2 months old in carriers, strollers, or cribs to protect them from mosquito bites.

Q. What do the invasive mosquitoes look like?
A. The Aedes aegypti is a small, dark mosquito with white lyre-shaped markings and banded legs. Aedes albopictus is a small, dark mosquito with a white dorsal stripe and banded legs.

Q. Where are invasive mosquitoes found?
A. These mosquito species often live in and around human habitation. They only require small amounts of standing water to lay eggs, eggs that do not hatch immediately can survive long periods without water only to hatch when they are re-flooded. Ideal breeding grounds include artificial or natural water containers (tires, pots, buckets, cans, rain gutters, fountains, birdbaths, etc.) and underground water sources such as open septic tanks, storm drains, wells, and water meters.

Q. When and where do the invasive mosquitoes bite?
A. These mosquitoes bite during the day, and they are most active two hours after sunrise and a few hours before sunset. However, they can bite at night as well. They typically approach their victims from behind and bite the ankles and elbows. They prefer humans, but will also take blood from dogs and other mammals.

Q. What is the life cycle of invasive mosquitoes?
A. Female mosquitoes lay eggs in water-filled containers, just above the water line, over several days. These eggs can survive for periods of six months or longer, even if they dry out temporarily. However, they cannot live through the winter in cold climates. When the eggs are flooded with water from rain, they hatch. Aedes aegypti larvae tend to eat small aquatic organisms, algae, and other plant and animal particles. After hatching, they grow into adults in as little as 8 days.