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The spread of the Zika virus has been in headlines for months now. It was a major concern for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio and with news of the spread to Florida, many people are now on alert. It is possible that the disease will continue to advance throughout the southern U.S., creating a potential issue for workers and employees. So what should you know about Zika? Is there a way to prevent the disease or protect your workers from risk? Here is information from the CDC to help you create a plan for your team.

What is Zika?

There is a lot of buzz about Zika, but what is it exactly? Zika was originally discovered in Uganda in 1947, but was not seen outside of Africa until it spread to the South Pacific in 2007. Now, the spread is becoming exponential with cases throughout South and Central America, the Caribbean, and even parts of Florida.

How is it Transmitted?

Zika is carried by an aggressive species of mosquitoes. They are very active during the day, but also bite at night. It has also been determined that Zika can spread sexually. Also, the transition most people are concerned about is from mother to child during pregnancy. This can cause microcephaly, a severe birth defect.

What Are the Risks?

People at the most risk for contracting Zika virus right now are those traveling to areas under warning. These include trips to the Caribbean and South American countries like Brazil. However, an adult who has had Zika virus is not likely to contract it a second time having built immunity.

What are the Symptoms?

Most people who are infected with Zika won’t experience any symptoms. Or the symptoms may be mild. In general, the condition feels much like the flu with fever, joint pain, and headache. There may also be a rash visible. If experienced, the symptoms may last about a week.

How is it Treated?

Neither a vaccine nor a direct medical treatment has been developed at this time. Your doctor will treat the symptoms much like they would the flu. You should get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Talk to your doctor before you take additional medications as there can be some complications.

How Can You Control Mosquitoes?

So far, Zika virus has only been found in mosquitoes in south Florida, but many areas are becoming concerned about the future risk. The best control may be in preventing mosquito bites. While there are some concerns about the chemicals used for insecticides, there may be some benefits to llarge-scalemosquito control initiatives. Individually, you can wear long sleeves and pants and use insect repellents with Deet. It may also be advisable to stay inside.

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