The Zika virus is primarily spread to people through the bite of some Aedes mosquitoes. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during pregnancy or around the time of birth. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact have also been reported.
About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill. Symptoms can start about 3 to 7 days after being bitten by a mosquito carrying Zika virus. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. Severe illness is uncommon. Precautions to avoid mosquito bites can help to prevent Zika virus infection where transmission is occurring as well as all mosquito-borne illnesses.
To Avoid Bites Observe the 4 D’s
- DUSK to DAWN Stay indoors from dusk to dawn, when infectious mosquitoes are most active.
- DRAIN Eliminate standing water in your yard. Old tires, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, leaky pipes and faucets, birdbaths and wading pools can be breeding sites for mosquitoes.
- DRESS Wear light colored, long sleeves and pants when you are outside.
- DEET If you are going to be outside when mosquitoes are most active, make sure you apply insect repellent that contains DEET. Spray both exposed skin and clothing with repellent.
The City of Aiken has an active ongoing program to help control mosquito populations. Throughout the year Public Services crew members provide ditch maintenance service, which reduces the amount of standing water available to mosquitoes for egg laying and maturing. Our crew will also apply pesticides in areas of the city where there are large populations of adult mosquitoes. Mosquito control must be a shared responsibility in order for abatement to be successful. Take a survey of your own property to identify and eliminate the source of the mosquitoes. Keep in mind that any source of standing or stagnant water can be a potential breeding location. To report large mosquito populations in your area, use our online mosquito complain form or call 803-642-7613.