Forget about lions, tigers, and bears: Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals of all. The World Health Organization estimates that mosquitoes cause a million human deaths annually, a figure that dwarfs all others of its kind.
While malaria accounts for the vast majority of that unfortunate toll, a frightening threat of another sort has been steadily gaining attention. Although recognized by scientists since 1947, the mosquito-born Zika virus that broke out from Brazil last year has now become a global-scale public health emergency.
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With millions of people planning to attend the upcoming Summer Olympics in Brazil, questions abound as to what can be done to stay safe. It turns out that some commonsense measures, including the wearing of clothing that includes ExOfficio Insect Shield protection, can make a big difference.’
Known for Decades, the Zika Virus Emerges as a New Threat
The Zika virus was identified by researchers just after World War II, although it took sixty years for the first recognized human outbreak to occur. The virus is most commonly transmitted from one victim to the next by bites from mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, with unprotected sexual contact between men and women being the next most significant threat.
In adults, Zika frequently goes unnoticed, a fact that can contribute to its spread. With adult carriers of the virus often not experiencing symptoms, the infection can sometimes extend to a critical mass of people before it will even be recognized.
While some adults do contract a relatively mild sickness known as “Zika fever,” and there is reason to believe that the virus contributes to the debilitating Guillain-Barré syndrome, it is the unborn who are most at risk. Expectant mothers infected with the virus can pass it on to their children in utero, leading to serious problems like microcephaly.’
The Current, Brazil-Centered Zika Outbreak
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Now preparing to play host to the 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazil is also ground zero for the current Zika outbreak. Although the Americas are free of the Anopheles mosquitoes that carry malaria to such deadly effect elsewhere, the Aedes insects that transmit Zika range within them widely.
Regarded by many as an event with pandemic potential, the current Zika outbreak was first recognized at the beginning of last year in Brazil, and that is where the densest concentrations of carriers remain.
There is plenty of speculation as to how the virus made its way from Micronesia, where it was last seen active, to Brazil. One of the leading theories at this time is that it was the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil that made the long hop possible, a possibility that raises some difficult questions about the upcoming Olympics.
For those who decide to attend the summer games, protecting against the Zika virus will be a matter of great personal and public concern.
Commonsense Steps to Reduce the Likelihood of Zika Infection
Public health authorities recommend that those who visit plan to visit Brazil employ some straightforward means of Zika Virus Prevention. For one, effective chemical mosquito repellent should be applied and refreshed regularly, with such products being used only after any sunscreen that is desired.
Especially swampy areas that are most hospitable to the insects should be avoided whenever possible, particularly during the daytime when the mosquitoes that transmit Zika are most active.
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Just as important is covering up bare skin with clothing that will make it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite. Even when the weather is warm, preferring full-length pants and shirts with long sleeves can make it much less likely that Zika-bearing mosquitoes will strike.
Hats equipped with mosquito nets that can be tucked into shirt collars can further shore up protection, as can gloves and gaiters or socks that are pulled up over pant cuffs.’
ExOfficio BugsAway Clothing Adds Another Layer of Effective Protection
When it comes to preventing Zika Virus, Clothing of even more specialized kinds can make a big difference in protection too. ExOfficio’s BugsAway line of clothing utilizes Insect Shield technology, which bonds the effective repellent permethrin tightly to the fabric.
While repellents that are applied to the skin can form a useful final line of defense, the permethrin in clothes that incorporate Insect Shield will keep mosquitoes even farther from their desired feeding spots.
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Unlike consumable repellent, ExOfficio BugsAway clothing also keeps working for as long as it is worn. With the treatment lasting through 70 washes or more, simply putting BugsAway clothing on in the morning means being able to count on protection all throughout the day to come.
ExOfficio clothes that include Insect Shield put up further barriers to mosquitoes and other troublesome insects with structural features like tightly sealed seams and close-fitting openings. The company’s clothes are also designed to be comfortable, stylish, and functional whatever the situation or setting.
ExOfficio’s BugsAway clothes with Insect Shield have proved through many human-years of field testing in the world’s most demanding environments to provide real, effective protection against mosquitoes and other dangerous insects.
Knowing of the threat presented by the Zika Virus, Olympics visitors will be well advised to use these and other recommended tactics in order to ensure their safety from dangerous insects. Knowing of the threat presented by the Zika Virus Olympics visitors will be well advised to use these and other recommended tactics in order to ensure their safety.