Even the State of New York was running a major campaign to fight the Zika Virus that was before it was found to be present in Miami. There are also warnings about potential of sexual transmission too!
A very pro-active State Governor Andrew Cuomo has tasked his health department to draw up extensive plans to identify any such areas of infection within the State and New York City itself before it can get a foothold after it had identified at least 449 people infected with it. Although those affected people have not been infected within the state itself, as yet!
The mosquitos that are present in the lower part of the State could possibly pass on the virus direct or by first biting a person already infected and then pass on the virus by biting a second person.
He has been cracking down hard before any potential outbreak could occur by setting up a major health prevention initiative. The State has been sending out kits to help destroy the mosquitoes at their source where they breed mainly in areas of standing water for instance. There is a major risk to pregnant women giving birth to babies with defects and protecting them is a priority.
SEX AND THE ZIKA VIRUS
What is not fully understood is that the infection seems it could be passed on with sexual contact so condoms are recommended for travellers who have been in known infected areas. The virus is thought to be able to survive longer in semen than in blood for instance!
The virus has been publicised as being present in Rio recently with the Olympics preparations and generally across South and Central America plus with it now on mainland USA in Miami. However it’s also present in places like Puerto Rico so travellers need to be aware of possible risks from mosquito bites and perhaps unprotected sexual contact too! Currently there are 6,400 travel related cases in the US with just 14 where the infection has been found to have occurred in the State of Florida itself.
The State has put into effect a 6 point plan:
1: Eliminate Zika at Its Source
2: Monitor the Aedes Mosquito with Special Trapping and Testing
3: Provide Free Zika Protection Kits to Pregnant Women
4: Deploy Rapid Response Teams
5: Issue Emergency Regulations Requiring Local Zika Control Plans
- Launch Aggressive Public Awareness Campaign
It is important to stress that there has been no Zika transmission in New York State at this time, those cases that have been infected are from elsewhere and include 5 pregnant women.
The Zika virus is transmitted mainly by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is found in South and Central America. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are not currently found in New York State. However a related species named Aedes albopictus is active in the lower region and could potentially carry Zika and its these mosquitoes that the state are trapping and monitoring closely in their health labs in Albany.
SYMPTOMS OF THE ZIKA VIRUS
The Zika virus is usually mild. About one in five people develop symptoms. Someone with symptoms start up to 14 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms are:
- Acute onset of fever
- Maculopapular rash (a rash that is red with small bumps)
- Joint pain
- Conjunctivitis (“pink eye”, inflammation or infection of the eye)
As always the best action is to cover up, wear long sleeves, use insect repellents and try to stay away from potential breeding sites like containers of standing water pools of static water etc.
New York State is a wonderful place to visit, do not be put off. As visiting anywhere in the world take notice of local warnings and have a lovely time there! Up State and the Adirondacks I highly recommend! See here: http://www.thetraveltrunk.net/adirondacks-new-york/