At a recent lecture held at the Merida English Library, U.S. expert Marissa Grossman delved into the topic of “Everything you need to know about Zika, dengue and chikungunya, the mosquito-borne viruses of the Yucatan.”
Starting at 11 am on Saturday March 19, as part of the venue’s weekly Saturday lectures series, Grossman explained all the basics of the diseases, including the anatomy of the mosquitoes, their behaviour, goverment programs of prevention and tips to take care of yourself.
What carries the disease? The aedes aegypti mosquito is the one to transmit the viruses that cause dengue, Grossman explained. Humans get the viruses passed on to them through the bite of an infective female mosquito, which most of the time, acquires the virus while feeding on an infected person. The situation creates a cycle that later on leads to outbreaks of the disease.
In Merida, to try to control the spreading, the goverment is taking action through different ways of prevention. The two most noticeable are the spraying of insecticides along the streets of the city, and the campaing “Lava, tapa, tira y voltea” (to wash, cover, throw, turn), which suggest you just to do that with possible harvest places.
Other tips included: being careful when picking clothes, since mosquitoes like dark clothes, and long pants can protect calves and ankles, the most likely places to get bitten; keep doors and windows closed or with screens, to avoid the entrance of mosquitoes to homes; and if possible to use a/c.
Questions from the audience elicited responses that helped to debunk myths of the diseases:
Can I travel to Mexico if I plan to get pregnant? Well yes, unless they are currently pregnant. Zika is actually a mild disease that should not affect any future pregnancies.
What about liver damage? The virus affects the way the liver metabolizes, affecting the alcohol dehydrogenases.
Should I spend on natural repellents? It’s not really recomended. Instead it was suggested to use those with DEET.
By Fabiola Villaseñor for TYT
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