The following informational videos were produced and provided by the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education and the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology.
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Understanding the Zika Virus
Contributed by: David Holmes, UF/IFAS Extension Marion County Director
Zika, a mosquito-transmitted virus, has been receiving press recently primarily due to the increased incidence of microcephaly in babies born to Zika-infected mothers. The virus was named after Zika Forest, in Entebbe, Uganda, where it was first discovered about 1950.
No vaccines for protection against Zika are currently available, so protecting against mosquito bites is the primary means of prevention.
This requires a two-fold strategy: protecting oneself against bites and eliminating backyard mosquito habitat. Here are some helpful tips:
- Residents should take precaution to protect themselves from mosquito bites, particularly during daylight hours for Zika-related mosquitos. If you must be outside wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and socks. Consider use of permethrin-treated clothing and gear. If using permethrin to treat clothing follow product instructions closely. Do not use permethrin products directly on skin.
- Employ the use of mosquito repellents with EPA-registered active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus that provide long-lasting protection.
- The two primary mosquito breeds that transmit the virus are the Asian Tiger Mosquito and the yellow fever mosquito. Both of these lay eggs on the insides of containers, then await flooding from rains which activates hatching. Scout your yard and eliminate or regularly empty the water from containers suitable for larvae development weekly including birdbaths, flower pots, animal water dishes, old buckets, wheelbarrows, tires; anything that will catch water once the rainy season begins this summer.
Zika levels are not something that should elicit panic from the public, but residents should take precautions to minimize infection opportunities in their neighborhoods.
For more information, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Marion County. The department has set up a Zika hotline at 1-855-622-6735, and a Zika virus web page. You can also find information on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/zika.