Recently a Chicago hospital has confirmed the city’s first case of Zika virus after a woman returned home from a trip to Colombia. Despite requiring medical attention the 30 year old woman made a full recovery and the virus is not expected to spread through Chicago.
Mosquito expert and research assistant with the Chicago Department of Public Health Alexandra Westrich weighed in on the issue of Zika virus in the City of Chicago. According to Westrich mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus originate from the genus Aedes and although Chicago is home to some species of Aedes mosquitoes, Chicagoans aren’t at immediate risk of catching the virus from local mosquitoes. However if a local mosquito were to bite someone infected with the virus the risk of localized Zika mosquitoes could be possible.
Specifically Westrich stated that “It’s only a matter of how many people here are traveling and bringing it back, this makes transmission, and certainly an epidemic, extremely unlikely in Illinois, as cases of Zika must be “imported.”
Westrich believes that West Nile Virus is more of a concern for Chicagoans as some of the mosquito pools in Chicago have tested positive for West Nile every year they have been examined.
Westrich says that Zika virus is most dangerous for pregnant women because of the implications. Specifically Westrich stated that; “It is a significant public health concern because of the link to the birth defects, but it hasn’t caused any fatalities yet.” Westrich believes in “minimizing the alarmism” and “waiting until more concrete evidence of the causative agents has come in.”
In order to best protect yourself from Zika and West Nile Westrich suggests staying informed about mosquito ecology and avoiding standing pools of water.
If you are concerned about mosquitoes on your property make sure to eliminate any unnecessary pools on standing water. Also make sure to contact a pest control professional if the amount of mosquitos on your property have raised concern. If located in the Chicago area make sure to contact the mosquito control experts at Smithereen Pest Management Services!