Mosquito season is just around the corner, and Ohio public health officials are worried. There are currently five confirmed cases of Zika virus in the state. While those cases were contracted in other parts of the world, mosquitoes are able to pick up the virus and transmit it to others.
What is Zika virus?
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.”
Unfortunately, Zika disease has been linked to an increase in the birth defect known as microcephaly. Pregnant women who have been infected can give birth to children that suffer reduced brain growth resulting in smaller head size. The condition can cause lifelong problems, including seizures, developmental delays and disabilities.
The problem with Zika is that after the initial symptoms, it can be difficult to detect. The virus lives on in the host, and common antibody tests are ineffective because the tests cross-react with Dengue fever antibodies and can produce a false positive.
Mosquitoes capable of carrying the disease are common in the US and exist in pockets all over the state. In response to the five known cases and the potential threat for widespread infection in Ohio, public health officials gathered in early March to discuss preparedness.
Zika related birth defects are a cause for concern
Dr. Mary DiOrio, medical director of the Ohio Department of Health, told The Columbus Dispatch that talks were expected to focus on mosquito control and public outreach. She said, “My hope from this exercise is that, by having these conversations now, we will know exactly — if we get a case of Zika during our mosquito season — what steps will be taken by all of the entities in that area."
You can reduce the mosquito population in your area by eliminating standing water on and around your property. However, these precautions cannot guarantee that Zika won’t be in Ohio this spring. So far, no residents have tested positive for the disease, but only time will tell.
If your child has suffered a birth defect as a result of trauma or substandard prenatal care, you may be entitled to compensation. The compassionate Ohio birth injury lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law can help you in your time of need. Contact us today for a free consultation.