Mosquito season has begun! Tips to avoid mosquito bites (and reduce risk of West Nile)

 

mosquitoMosquito abatement districts are surveying and treating for the pesky little blood-suckers earlier than usual because spring has been so mild. So now is a good time to go over the precautions you should take to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Zika virus has been in the news a lot lately, but in Idaho and the rest of the United States, we worry the most about mosquitoes transmitting West Nile virus. This early in the season, we’ve had no reports of West Nile in mosquitoes, humans or horses. Last season in Idaho, 13 people and four horses were infected in six counties. Fortunately, there were no deaths.

Who needs to be thinking about how to avoid West Nile virus?

Everyone who plans to be outside this summer and fall should be thinking about how to avoid mosquito bites. The virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. We tend to see the most human illnesses from the virus in July and August, but that could change this year since the weather warmed up so quickly. Continue reading “Mosquito season has begun! Tips to avoid mosquito bites (and reduce risk of West Nile)”

What you need to know about Zika virus infection and pregnancy

Zika virus is scary for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. A lot of information has been in the news about this mosquito-borne infection and how it affects pregnancies, and we thought it would be a good idea to revisit this topic to discuss what we do and don’t know.

So let’s go over the basics first. How does a pregnant woman get infected with Zika?

The most common way is from the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito that can carry the virus is not found in Idaho, but it is found in some southern areas of the United States as well as the countries having an outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps a list and issues travel advisories for countries experiencing an outbreak. A pregnant woman also can be infected if she engages in unprotected sexual activity with a man who is infected.  Continue reading “What you need to know about Zika virus infection and pregnancy”