Zika persists as summer winds down

Abrielle Claude, News Editor

46 cases of the Zika virus have been reported in Illinois, and as students return from vacation outside of the US, it remains a concern.

“This seems to be more of a case where people have traveled, gotten Zika then came back,” said Carl Caneva, Asst. Director of Health and Human Services Dept. in Evanston. “That’s the concern people who have traveled need to make sure they have taken proper precautions.”

Zika is mainly transmitted through mosquito bites, but can also be transmitted through blood transfusions, sexual intercourse and even from mother to child. The symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The CDC has issued travel warnings for Zika in the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific Islands and South America. Recently, there has been an outbreak of Zika in Miami, Florida, with a total of at least 25 infected people.

“Our message is to educate people to try and repel the mosquitoes by wearing repellent during dusk and dawn when these mosquitos are out,” said Caneva.

Along with Zika, there is also a concern about the West Nile virus.

Mosquitos that were tested for the virus in Skokie and Evanston have tested positive for the virus in late June. Luckily, there have been no human cases of West Nile virus this year in Evanston, reported Caneva.

According to NBC Chicago, human cases of West Nile virus are usually seen at the end of July or August, so it’s still important to protect against mosquitoes even though summer break is coming to an end.

“We create presentations and work with our park district to administer deet wipes free to people who attend movies in the park,” explained Caneva.

For students, prevention is the main focus to staying healthy. There are many simple ways to prevent mosquito bites. “Limit the amount of stagnant water, don’t leave buckets or toys out, and make sure there are no holes in window screens that mosquitoes might be entering from,” said Caneva.

Just by following these simple preventive methods students should be able to remain healthy during the peak times of mosquito activity.