If you’ve turned on your TV to watch the evening news or looked at the top headlines in your favorite newspaper once during the past few months, I’m guessing you’ve seen this four-letter word — Zika. Indeed, Zika virus has been at the forefront of popular press, academic, and industry publications lately. This once obscure, neglected tropical disease is making headlines due to its association with microcephaly in infants and Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Let’s start by covering some of the facts we know about Zika. Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil and since that time, the virus has spread across the Americas. According to the CDC, Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedesspecies mosquito (A. aegypti and A. albopictus) but can also be transmitted through infected blood or bodily fluids. Furthermore, only 1 in 5 individuals who contract the virus actually become ill, which means there are many people carrying it who don’t even realize it. That further supports the argument for a proactive approach.
While there is much we don’t know about Zika, we do know that it is spread, in part, by mosquitoes. We also know that there is currently no treatment or vaccine. So what can we do, both for our customers and ourselves, to help prevent the spread of this virus? First of all, I’d recommend practicing and promoting the “Three D’s” advocated by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA):
- Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week;
- Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing;
- Defend: Properly apply an approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
When further protection against mosquitoes is desired, barrier sprays are an excellent solution. Barrier sprays of residual pyrethroids applied to non-flowering foliage is a widely accepted mosquito-control approach adopted by both private and public pest professionals. During application, it is crucial that the common resting sites of mosquitoes are treated with the best product. For this, I recommend Suspend® PolyZone®, applied by a backpack mist blower.
Originally developed to control mosquitoes in the harsh environments of Africa, the proprietary polymer formulation in Suspend® PolyZone® locks the AI in place and protects it from the elements, delivering unstoppable staying power. It also offers a proven reduction in callback frequency, broad-spectrum pest control with fewer applications and long-term residual control.
As they always do, mosquitoes will begin to emerge again across the U.S. as temperatures rise. And, regardless of what happens with Zika, they remain the deadliest animal on earth. Bayer is proud to offer solutions to support you in your important work of managing* these and other nuisance pests that may carry diseases.
Zika Sources: AMCA, CDC, and WHO
*It’s important when promoting mosquito-management services to consumers that promises are not made that the services will protect occupants and/or visitors from public health threats that may be carried by mosquitoes. Consumers must understand that the services can help control disease vectors, but they can’t eliminate the threat altogether.