Navy Medicine released a mosquito awareness video for Sailors, Marines and their families, June 24.
Although the Zika virus has not been spread by mosquitoes in the United States, it could occur. The new video demonstrates how to take extra protective measures during mosquito season, including measures to safeguard your home such as avoiding the use of mosquito attraction devices.
“The Navy is actively conducting mosquito surveillance and testing on board installations along the U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts,” said Cmdr. Alan Lam, deputy associate director, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) Public Health, Emergency Preparedness and Response. “Being educated and aware of preventive measures is vital in avoiding the transmission of the virus.”
Female mosquitoes lay eggs in small pools of water. To reduce mosquito breeding, eliminate standing water in flower pots, clogged rain gutters, children’s pools, tarps and abandoned tires. Install screens on windows and doors and ensure they are in good condition to keep mosquitoes outside.
Look for insect repellants that contain 20-35 percent DEET, the most common active ingredient in insect repellant, or 20 percent picaridin. Repellants containing permethrin can be used to treat clothing and are safe for pregnant or nursing mothers and their children. These repellants can be purchased through online retailers and local sporting goods stores.
Additionally, long sleeve, light-colored shirts protect from mosquito bites and sun exposure. Mosquito netting should be placed over infant carriers to prevent contact.
Zika virus is transmitted to humans by Aedes mosquitos and blood transfusions. Infected males can also pass the virus on to partners through unprotected sex.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 in 5 people infected do not develop symptoms of the virus. Symptoms include fever, rash, headaches, joint and muscle aches, and conjunctivitis.
“Avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to prevent infection,” Lam said. “Mosquitos carrying Zika bite mostly during the day. There is currently no specific antiviral treatment, vaccine or drug for the virus.”