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The Zika Virus in the DC Area – What You Should Know

The first case of the Zika virus has hit Virginia, after Harrisonburg resident Heather Baker contracted the mosquito-borne virus on a trip to Guatemala. This, after the three confirmed cases in Washington DC, marks a crucial moment for residents to be careful, and to know what to watch for.

The virus is spread by infected Aedes mosquitoes, who can bite as many as five people in a single meal. The insect’s big belly allows for the swift spread of the disease in countries like Brazil, where the virus originated. Experts warn that when the weather warms up, the eastern United States – our area included – could be at risk of transmission by local mosquitoes. Another risk factor is the large number of travelers from Brazil that come through local airports like Washington Dulles.

Symptoms of Zika virus include fever, rash, joint pain, headaches, and muscle soreness. The biggest risk is for unborn babies, as the virus is known to cause
alarming birth defects.

Access to air conditioning and screens will prevent outbreaks like the ones seen in South America, but when the weather warms up, residents are still advised to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants outdoors, use DEET insect repellant, and stay in areas with air conditioning and screens. If you see alarming numbers of mosquitoes around your home, contact Green Pest Services for a consultation. Our technicians are trained experts when it comes to local mosquitoes, and will help you take the necessary measures to keep your family safe.