CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – According to the Centers for Disease Control, mosquitoes here in the U.S. could soon spread the Zika Virus.
As of Tuesday morning, 41 states in the U.S. including Tennessee and neighboring Georgia and Alabama have reported confirmed cases of the Zika Virus. Most of the infections occurred outside the U.S. from mosquito bites.
There’s now a growing concern the virus could spread within U.S. borders from mosquitoes that feed on infected people who got the virus while visiting South America or the Caribbean Islands.
The Hamilton County Health Department has been in constant contact with the CDC. Environmental Health Director Bonnie Deakins told News 12 everyone needs to be aware of whats going when it comes to mosquitoes transmitting the virus.
“They’re blood feeders so everybody needs to protect themselves against those bites,” Deakins said.
People who have just returned from Zika infested areas outside the U.S. are warned to make sure they are wearing mosquito repellent when they go out at night or anytime mosquitoes are likely present.
“They want to sue a deet type of repellent and they want to continue to do that because even if mosquitoes were to bite them, it’s possible that if they went and bit someone else, they could transmit the virus that way,” Deakins said.
Experts are also warning people to get rid of standing water which is the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
“You want to go through your yard and make sure there’s nothing even as small as a bottle cap or as large as a kids pool. It all needs to be drained at least once or twice a week,” Deakins said.
While those who are infected may not show any symptoms, others may experience fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. The virus also causes serious birth defects in babies so prevention is the the key.