Health officials encourage caution as Zika virus moves into Brazos County

Images of babies born with underdeveloped heads have stricken people across the world with fear at the idea of how much damage a tiny mosquito bite can do. The media contributes to panic any time a potential pandemic arises, first with Swine Flu, then Ebola, and now the Zika virus. Symptoms can be nonexistent to severe in people infected with the Zika virus which makes it all that more dangerous for transmission.

According to the CDC’s website, symptoms can include fever, itchy rashes, red eyes, and joint pain, similar to the flu. Zika is commonly spread by an infected Aedes species mosquito, but can be spread through blood borne pathogens or intercourse.

The CDC also encourages people to take extra precautions when traveling to a place where Zika is present. Their recommendation includes reducing the number of hours outside during the day and especially at twilight.

A third case of the Zika Virus has been confirmed in the Brazos County. All three cases have involved people who have traveled where there was known mosquito Zika transmissions. There have been no known cases of people in the Brazos Valley contracting Zika directly from mosquitos.

With the Zika virus currently existing in Brazos County, Bryan High has taken some initiative by informing faculty and students about the virus.

“We’ve informed people about it, we know about it, and we’re making sure people take precautions,” principal Lane Buban said. “The district hasn’t really done anything outside of that.”

With sports being played during twilight hours, coaches have minimized the risks of mosquitoes by keeping the athletes away from any areas where they can be bitten.

“We have practice on the other side of the stadium in the grass and that tends to be wet and have standing water,” Buban said. “Those practices are moved into the stadium on the turf because it’s a safer place to be, you’re not exposed directly to mosquitoes and standing water.”

Not only do coaches and athletes prevent the spread of Zika or being bit, but so do the teachers.

“We do the best we can, especially in the interior part of the campus to keep standing water from being around,“ Buban said. “We try to push standing water in the drains as much as possible and we do try to take as many precautions we can.”

Though the chances of contracting the Zika virus are low, it is important to always take precautions when outside including wearing long sleeves and pants and using mosquito spray. It is also important to drain standing water and avoid early morning and evening hours while the sun is setting.
As the threat continues to spread, stay informed by checking health pages lik the Brazos Valley Health Department. (www.brazoshealth.org).