A $21 million anti-Zika campaign was announced yesterday (Monday) after fresh concerns over the virus spreading to New York City.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging pregnant residents who fear they may have come into contact with the virus to get tested as soon as possible.
Experts are also insisting that New Yorkers be vigilant and not leave standing water around as it’s the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. Travelers should also take extreme care when abroad, taking mosquito repellent with them.
The Health Department is also doubling the number of mosquito traps in the city as part of the three year campaign.
While the virus does not appear to trigger any symptoms, it is believed to be the cause of microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with smaller than usual skulls and damaged brains.
Mayor de Blasio said in a statement: “We will spare no effort to protect pregnant New Yorkers from the devastating consequences of Zika.”
He added: “We ask pregnant women who may have been exposed to Zika to talk to their doctors about getting tested.”
So far, there have been 40 confirmed cases of Zika in NYC contracted from overseas, six of which are pregnant women. There have been no recorded infections occurring within NYC.
While the Aedes aegypti mosquito that carries the virus is not native to New York, it does have a “cousin” – the Aedes albopictus – that is. The virus can also be spread through sexual intercourse.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett added: “This isn’t a person to person spread. A mosquito could bite a New Yorker, who returned from a place where they acquired a Zika infection, that mosquito would then bite someone else, and give them the virus.”
Take care, people!
Featured cover image: Patch