News about the Zika virus has been getting progressively more severe in our city, but if you haven’t been following the story it can often be hard to wade through all the information. Here is everything you need to know:
- Zika is not contagious in the sense of a cold or flu, it mainly spread by the species Aedes mosquitoe, who will draw blood from a person with Zika, get infected, and then spread the virus to the next person they bite.
- These mosquitoes (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus) are aggressive daytime biters but can also bite at night.
- Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus and can cause certain birth defects.
- The disease has been linked to Microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with their heads abnormally small.
- The most common symptoms of Zika virus infection are mild fever and a skin rash, usually accompanied by conjunctivitis, muscle or joint pain, and general malaise that begins 2-7 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
- Only one out of four infected people develop symptoms of the disease.
Zika in NYC
- There has been 233 cases of the disease in New York City (a number that has tripled in only 2 and a half months, 78 at the beginning of May).
- NYC has 3 times as many cases of Zika that have been reported in the rest of NY state combined (77).
- 39 Zika patients are in Brooklyn.
What is being done in congress and New York State government?
- Senator Chuck Schumer is urging Congress to pass a $1.9 billion emergency funding bill to combat the virus before congress breaks for the summer. The funds could be used for:
- Mosquito control measures
- finding a vaccine for the virus
- Boost resources for family planning and contraceptives.
- The Health Department has sprayed pesticides throughout the NYC in areas where mosquitoes breed.
- Records show that Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park in Brooklyn have been sprayed 10 times since May 12.
Featured Image Source: [flickr]