Updated Zika Totals: Check your state’s numbers; limit your risk
Recently, the Center for Disease Control has released updated information regarding the number of confirmed human Zika infections in the United States and the US territories. Below is a brief explanation of what these numbers mean, as well as some methods by which you can lower your risk of contracting the Zika virus.
- Zika is most often transmitted by an infected mosquito. However, it can also be transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusions, medical procedures, and from mother to fetus.
- Zika virus may persist in bodily fluids (i.e. semen) even after it can no longer be detected by a blood test.
Explanation of the terms associated with the numbers
United States traveling cases: 4,649
US territories traveling cases data: Unreliably documented
‘Traveling cases’ refer to humans who have contracted Zika in another country and then traveled to the United States. These cases are typically discovered by medical treatments, medical testing, or through blood donations.
The good news: These numbers are not associated with active transmission from the bite of a mosquito. Currently, mosquito transmission of Zika is low in the continental United States.
The bad news: Most of the people infected with Zika will have mild or no symptoms. Thus, the number of travelling Zika cases is likely higher than reported. It is estimated that less than 20% of infected individuals experience any symptoms at all.
Prevention: It is difficult to know who may be carrying the Zika virus. Even after an individual’s virus levels are too low for human-to-mosquito transmission, human-to human-transmission may still be possible. You should take precautions, especially if you or individuals close to you have recently travelled to areas where Zika is prevalent.
United States local transmission cases: 216
US territories local transmission cases: 35,280
‘Local transmission cases’ refer to humans who have contracted Zika virus without travelling to areas where it is prevalent. Local transmission can occur as a result of a local mosquito bite or by exposure to bodily fluids of individuals with Zika.
The good news: Currently, only two mosquito species in the United States have been proven to possess the ability to transmit Zika, with one, Aedes aegypti, being designated as the main vector.
The bad news: Zika-transmitting mosquitoes have adapted to live in close proximity to humans. They breed in containers as small as bottle caps and bite actively throughout the day.
Prevention: Empty any container that is holding water to reduce mosquitoes. Following label directions, apply an EPA-approved repellent and wear light-colored clothing that covers skin to prevent mosquito bites. Use of condoms, oral prophylactics, and abstinence are important options when you are or a partner is at risk for having the Zika virus.
It is difficult to predict how bad Zika will affect the United States this year. Precautions and awareness are necessary to stay virus-free.
Simply guide your mouse over your state to see reported cases.
These statistics are from CDC.gov.
Totals span from Jan 1, 2015 through Jan 11, 2017.