Could the Zika Virus hit Michigan?

LANSING, MI (WLNS)- World health officials say the Zika Virus is “spreading explosively” and could impact millions in the western hemisphere.

The Zika Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and typically leaves people with a fever or rash.

But for pregnant women the effects could be much greater to them and their baby.

According to MSU experts the disease was first detected in Africa more than 70 years ago.

But recently it’s spread across the Caribbean, Latin America, and even some cases in the states.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes that spread this diseases are located in some states not too far from us.

“According to World Health Organization officials, the world could see up to four million cases of the Zika Virus this upcoming year.

“Zika virus is pretty alarming!” MSU entomologist Ned Walker said while he explains severity of the Zika Virus and its impact on mainly woman who are pregnant.

“Woman who are carrying a baby have high risk of an infection resulting in dire outcomes of their pregnancy” Dr. Ned Walker, MSU entomologist said.

According to MSU associate Dean for prevention and public health, Dean Sienko, in countries like El Salvador where the virus is prevalent, women have been asked to not become pregnant for 2 years.

Dean Sienko explains birth defects like microcephaly.

“That can have long term developmental effects, concerns for the child like mental retardation, and just not developing appropriately” Dean Sienko said.

According to MSU entomologist Dr. Michael Koufman, so far the virus is spread by a species of mosquito called Aedes Aegypti. They are found in Brazil, Puerto Rico, and even Florida.

And while the Aegypti can’t survive in Michigan, another species of mosquitoes of the same family called Aedes Albapicta, could be linked to the virus and is located in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.

“And if its verified that Aedeas Albapicta is a vector of the disease, than that means that it could travel further.” Dr. Michael Koufman said.

‘But since we don’t have that particular mosquito here in Michigan I think it’s unlikely” Dr. Walker said.

While all experts say it’s highly unlikely for the mosquitoes to reach Michigan, someone who travels could get the virus and have an in state case.

Experts recommend pregnant women not to travel to the affected areas.

And urge that if bitten by a mosquito that is a carrier the impact on unborn fetus could be severe.

 

For more information check out http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html and http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/zika/en/.

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