The Zika virus is fast becoming a worldwide health concern. As an increasing number of cases are reported in South America, it’s time to take a look at what we know about the Zika virus and how MasterShield Gutter Protection can aid in mosquito prevention.
Zika is spread primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. Outbreaks have been recorded in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands since the mid-20th Century. The first cases of Zika in the western hemisphere were recorded last year – namely, in Brazil. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms are typically mild with the potential for fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.
The Zika virus is transmitted by mosquito bite. There have, however, been recent reports of the virus being sexually transmitted. There have also been several reports of babies born with microcephaly – a birth defect that causes an abnormally small head and incomplete brain development – which are linked to mothers infected with the Zika virus. Additional studies are still needed to determine the degree to which Zika affects human health.
Mosquitos lay eggs in standing water and need only a small nook or corner to lay their eggs. If the standing water persists, there is potential for generations of mosquitoes to breed in the same spot.
Diligent removal of standing water is the key to preventing mosquitoes:
- At least twice per week, drain standing water from items like pool covers, saucers under flower pots, garbage cans, recycling bins, etc. Check areas that you don’t go in often, like in bushes or under decks.
- With the same frequency, change water in pet bowls, bird baths and livestock watering tanks.
- Keep children’s wading pools tipped on their side during storage.
- Remove items that have a tendency to collect water from around your property. This can include old tires, trash, cans or containers. Even small amounts of water are potential breeding areas.
- If you have a tire swing, drill a hole in its base to allow water to drain for less maintenance.
- Rain barrels should be covered with fine mesh screens.
- Door and window screens should be tear-free and fit snugly to keep mosquitoes from entering your home. When infants are outdoors, consider covering strollers or carriers with mosquito netting.
- Consider aerating your pond. Aerated water has surface movement, making it inhospitable to mosquito larvae.
- Don’t let a clogged gutter system allow standing water by using a micro mesh gutter guard like MasterShield.
Gutters are typically the last place people think to check regularly for standing water, but they are quick to trap shallow pools with only a few pieces of debris in the trough. Make sure that your gutters have no dips along their length. MasterShield uses micro mesh technology with a copper feature that ensures mosquitoes can’t get through.
With micro mesh protection, nothing but water will enter the gutter below – other gutter guard systems with too big of an opening (like the common reverse curve designs) are a potential breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The mosquito that carries Zika has yet to transmit the virus in the United States. Let’s keep it that way by remaining mindful of simple ways to prevent the spread of mosquitoes and the illnesses they can harbor.