The Zika virus has been a very serious topic of discussion in recent time. This comes as the virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, can cause birth defects and other issues in pregnant women. This has resulted in a dramatic concern that has led to many people canceling travels to parts of the world where the virus can especially be found in.
While the Zika virus has been prominent in Central America, it has been spreading around the United States in recent time. This especially comes as many mosquitoes that carry the virus have been spotted in numerous counties. Specifically, the number of counties where mosquitoes carrying the virus have been spotted in has increased in recent time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that in 2016, 38 counties in the United States had reports of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in their areas for the first time. This particular mosquito is the one that carries the Zika virus.
This development marks a 21-percent increase in the number of counties around the country where the Zika virus has been detected in. There are even a few places where the virus appears to have been isolated in.
Where Are the Mosquitoes Going?
The CDC has not released specifics as to which particular counties have experienced these mosquitoes in their regions for the first time. Still, the organization did note that most of the mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus were found in Texas counties. Also, the listing of new counties went as high up north as Illinois.
In total, 220 counties in 28 states plus the District of Columbia have been impacted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Texas is the most prominent state where mosquitoes that carry the virus can be found in. These mosquitoes have spread to a few other countries around the Mexican border as well as in the Gulf Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The southern half of California also has a high concentration of mosquitoes that carry the virus. These are regions where the conditions are more favorable for mosquitoes to be in. Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have especially reported a significant number of mosquitoes that carry the virus.
Why It Thrives In Certain Areas
A few individual counties far off from high-risk areas have especially seen these mosquitoes persist. These include counties in Utah and Minnesota. The CDC reports that the mosquito has been introduced into used tire facilities in those states on numerous occasions, thus allowing them to thrive in those spots. In addition, some man-made water sources where mosquitoes are likely to live around have caused the ones that hold the virus to persist in some spaces.
How Many Cases?
It is not fully clear as to how many people in the United States have been infected with the Zika virus by mosquitoes. However, the virus has become more prominent in the country in recent time as people who visit areas that have been hurt by the virus return into the United States after being infected.
The CDC states that from January 1 to July 12, 2017 there were 163 cases of the Zika virus in the United States. 162 instances entail the virus being contracted while visiting countries where the virus is prominent in. The one remaining case was caused by sexual transmission with another person who has the virus.
The virus is especially more prominent in American territories. During the same time period, 359 people around American territories like Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have contracted the virus.
Vaccinations Are Being Considered
The threat of the Zika virus has become more concerning thanks to the spread of mosquitoes that carry the virus around the country. Vaccinations have been heavily considered as possible treatments to help protect people, particularly pregnant women, from the effects of the virus. These may be promoted in some parts of the country, particularly in the south and in other regions that the virus has been spotted in.
A recent report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases states that experimental vaccines are being introduced as an attempt to restrict the transmission of the virus. This entails the use of anti-ZIKV antibodies that may help with blocking the effects of the virus. This has been tested on mice with relatively favorable results. Whether this will be introduced to the public as an optional treatment is unclear but it may be in high demand among women who are considering becoming pregnant.
The most recent developments with regards to the Zika virus in the United States have become very concerning to people around the country. Further research is expected to take place as people look for ways to resolve issues surrounding the virus, particularly issues that may be prominent in pregnant women. This comes as it is difficult to try and predict how far the virus could spread over time.