States Are Stepping Up Their Zika-Prevention Efforts. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The weather is getting warmer, and that means more parties, barbecues, walks outside, beach-going and … mosquitos. Unfortunately, mosquitos — which once seemed like a minor annoyance to most of us — have become genuine cause for concern in the wake of Zika outbreaks that has affected 5,264 Americans to date, according to the CDC.

With summer around the corner, states are thinking about how they can best tackle the problem. Here’s what you need to know about Zika prevention in 2017.

Where You’re Most At Risk and Why

In case you haven’t already heard, it’s been a pretty warm winter in most parts of the US. The warmest on record, in fact, throughout Florida, Texas and the Carolinas, states that saw high rates of Zika infection last year. That’s according to statistics from The Weather Channel.

Because of the mild winter, it’s even more likely that 2017 is going to be a big year for mosquitos. Warm winters mean higher survival rates for mosquito eggs, often leading to large populations of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries Zika, in the following summer.

This means that if you’re in a state with high Zika risk, such as Florida, Louisiana or Texas, you’re going to need to be careful in 2017. Even states whose Zika numbers stem from tourism to foreign locations (such as California and New York), need to be careful.

What States Are Doing About Zika

As of now, states are yet to reach a consensus on funding. After much debate, the US government agreed in September 2016 to provide $1.1 billion for Zika research and prevention, but according to PBS, those funds are set to dry up this summer, just when states may need them most.

In light of this, states are trying to figure out how to budget for prevention measures themselves. These measures often include mosquito control (such as city-wide spraying), testing and health education measures that help women avoid Zika in the first place.

“In order to be effective, our local mosquito control efforts must have the necessary funds,” Rep. Matt Caldwell (R), from North Fort Myers, Florida, told the Miami Herald. “Increasing that as a response to a threat is important.”

Tips for Protecting Against Zika

Women of childbearing age are those who stand to lose the most from Zika outbreaks. While most cases of Zika themselves aren’t fatal, the real danger is the risk of severe birth defects and fetal death that can occur in pregnant women who contract the virus.

Your best bet for protecting yourself against Zika is, of course, to use an effective mosquito repellent. If you’re pregnant (or hoping to become pregnant), try to avoid travel to risky areas, such as the Caribbean, South and Central America, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, the Carolinas and Puerto Rico.

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Marie W
Marie W13 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jerome S
Jerome S3 months ago


Jim V
Jim Ven3 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Ruth S
Ruth S5 months ago


william Miller
william Miller5 months ago


Jess B
Jess B5 months ago


Alexia J
Alexia J5 months ago

If you're going to be sitting in one area, have a fan running. Mosquitos can't fly when the air is moving too fast.

Philippa P
Philippa Powers5 months ago


Danuta Z
Danuta Z5 months ago


Lenore K
Lenore K5 months ago