KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new report shows that Kansas City is one of 50 cities at risk for hosting Zika carrying mosquitoes this summer.
FOX 4 spoke with a mosquito control expert, and he has some great advice on how to keep you and your family safe.
Unless you travel to Brazil for the Summer Olympics or another country where there is a Zika outbreak, your chances of getting infected with the Zika virus is extremely small. But if you are truly worried, experts say the biggest thing you can do is get rid of standing water in your yard this summer, wear bug spray and keep your windows closed.
According to local mosquito experts, the type of mosquito that carries the virus thrives in Kansas City’s summer climate. But the virus will most likely not get to the metro from a mosquito flying in from a Zika-infested country – it will be from a mosquito biting someone infected with Zika and then giving that virus to all the other people it bites.
“We don’t want to scare people,” David Maginness, owner of Mosquito Joe, said. “Again, it’s not here that you’re going to get it if you get bit by a mosquito. If you’re in an infected area like Brazil, that’s where you need to be careful.”
Currently, there has been only one reported case of Zika in Kansas and one in Missouri – the CDC does not specify which cities the victims live in.
If someone infected with Zika is bitten by a mosquito within the first week of contracting it, the CDC says it increases the chances of infected mosquitoes spreading the virus to others, which has sparked many to call mosquito control services to spray their yards.
According to the CDC, there are 258 reported cases of Zika in the U.S., right now – all of them are from people who traveled to another country and came home infected. 18 of those infected were pregnant and six of them caught it not from a mosquito, but from a sex partner who was infected.
Pregnant women say their main concern is how the virus could affect their fetus. The CDC advises that they not travel to Zika infested areas until after they give birth.
“We’ve been receiving a lot more calls than we were last year at this time,” Maginness said. “I had one lady call me, she’s pregnant and she did mention some concerns about the Zika virus. She has a couple small kids and she was worried.”
Zika, which is not fatal, was discovered in Africa back in 1947, so it’s been around for a while. Those infected get a fever, a rash and red eyes.