Zika Virus May Spread In Southern U.S. This Summer, Says Scholar

Apr 18, 2016

Credit Center For Disease Control

The mosquito-carried Zika Virus may start spreading further into the Southern part of the United States as early as this summer, according to a leading scholar.

Daniel Lucey of the Georgetown University Medical Center spoke at the Clinton School for Public Service Monday.  

When asked how long it would take for the virus to start transmitting between humans in the U.S., he cited a possible nine-month period of gestation from the point of infection of mothers, and pointed out that one mosquito can bite multiple people. 

"So they could bite three people and transmit the virus to three people instead of just one," he said. 

He added that spraying potentially toxic pesticides is currently the only remedy to address the spread of the virus, which can lead to microcephaly, a birth defect among infants. 

“This is the only, or the primary, defense we have today against Zika," he said. "They [mosquitos] tend to be around where we live, where there's water," he said about the possible danger of spraying toxins. 

Yet pesticides to counter the spread of the Zika Virus used in Arkansas and other states have not been subjected to sufficient toxicity tests, according Lucey. 

He added that other disease control methods being developed include introducing sterile male mosquitoes into the population, or infecting the insects with bacteria that prevents virus transmission.

So far two Zika cases have been found in Arkansas, brought to the state from residents who have gone traveling. About 80 percent of infected people do not realize they have the virus.