It seems as though it was just yesterday when the first cases of Zika were reported in a country far-enough away as to not cause any real concern for Americans. But the spread of the disease inched its way across the map, and finally made it here. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as of February 26, 2016:

“There have been 107 cases of Zika virus among U.S. travelers returning from Zika-infected areas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The CDC also reported 40 locally acquired cases of the virus in U.S. territories. Thirty-five are in Puerto Rico, four are in American Samoa, and one is in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Not included in that count are an additional 117 diagnosed cases of the virus in Puerto Rico that were reported to the CDC after they totaled the above numbers.”

That brings the total to 264 cases of Zika in U.S. territories. And that is an old number. I haven’t found a new total yet. A quick Google for, “Zika virus” will bring up so many news articles, it’s insane – and they become outdated very quickly.

Philadelphia announced its first case of Zika on February 29, Florida announced its first case of sexually transmitted Zika just today.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that pregnant women should not travel to 31 countries in Latin American and the Caribbean, including Brazil, which is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Zika is so dangerous to pregnant women, because of its link to microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads, and even incomplete brain development. Just today USA Today reported that, ” new study finds that Zika virus, which is already linked to paralysis and birth defects, also may be associated with a deadly type of brain inflammation….The virus is also linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves and causes paralysis.”

Essentially, it’s nothing but incredibly scary bad news. But, I am not just writing this to scare you – I’m writing it to make sure that we all use as much mosquito protection as possible if there is even the slightest chance you could be in an area with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (the type that carry the Zika virus).

In the News: Zika Virus Infographic
In the News: Zika Virus Infographic

Tips for keeping mosquitoes at bay include:

  • Using liberal amounts of insect repellent (obviously), EPA-registered
  • Using mosquito nets
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants
  • Eliminating potential mosquito breeding grounds (standing water)
  • Keeping doors and windows closed

Make smart choices this summer, and be wearing of who you have sex with. Zika has spread to Mexico, and that is like the #1 vacation destination of most of the people I know. This is one situation where it is best to take the advice of Mad-Eye Moody:

Constant Vigilance
Constant Vigilance!!

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Author: Jess Leonard

It's me, Jess! Seen here with Husband, and one of our pooches, Ainsley. I'm 27-years-old, beyond ready for babies, and super broke. Join me on this insane journey of figuring out how to live the lives we want as baby crazy, but heavily indebted millennials. Fun facts about me: I grew up in Southern California, near Coachella, I looooove jamming on my planner (I use a MAMBI Happy Planner), and my spirit animal is Leslie Knope.

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