With Zika on the minds of so many pregnant women these days, New York has recently taken some measures to help keep the risky virus at bay. While no one has yet contracted Zika in the United States, it is expected to make its way north from South America and the Caribbean due to the mosquitos that carry the infection. When the average person contracts the disease, it proves to be not much more than a nuisance. But for many pregnant women in Brazil and other tropical locations who were bitten by a form of Aedes mosquitos and contracted the disease, children were born with microcephaly and cognitive abnormalities. The mere possibility that this could occur in the U.S. has raised flags everywhere.
Although scientists have not yet determined if the type of Aedes mosquito in New York can also transmit Zika, researchers plan to trap and test about 60,000 mosquitoes in the region per month, according to a statement from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
New York will also distribute free “Zika protection kits” to pregnant women in regions where the virus might spread, the statement said. These kits include insect repellent, condoms (to prevent the sexual transmission of the virus) and larvicide tablets (that can kill mosquito larvae) to treat standing water. Initially, the state will give 20,000 kits to health care providers for distribution to patients.
While it is unclear if the measures taken by New York will be effective, it is reassuring that health officials are taking the threat of Zika seriously. Hopefully other states will follow suit.