Zika not likely to take U.S. by storm

Posted By: Nicole Cousins

ncousins@klkntv.com

As concern over the Zika epidemic grows, doctors here in Nebraska are putting people at ease.

Dr. Mark Rupp with Nebraska Medicine said Wednesday recent outbreaks in Miami aren’t surprising, and sporadic local transmission has been expected.

“We don’t really think it is going to take off in other areas of the country that don’t have the Aedes Aegypti,” Rupp said. “But it is something we want to be aware of."

Despite the recent Miami outbreak, ABC reports Zika is not likely to spread across the country because the mosquitoes carrying Zika can’t travel long distances.

Unlike the West Nile virus that thrives in birds and humans, Zika infects only primates –including people — and most people in America can protect themselves from the pest.

“Folks need to be taking action to avoid mosquito bites,” Rupp said. “Wearing appropriate clothing, using appropriate mosquito repellents, being indoors with screens intact on windows and doors, using air conditioning.”

Dr. Rupp says Nebraska does have a similar mosquito that may be able to carry Zika, but he doesn’t think the state is in any immediate danger.

Of course, in places like Rio where this year’s Olympic Games are being held, the Aedes Aegypti is popular.

But the weather may make the Olympic Games a safer place to be this time of year.

"It’s winter time in Brazil,” Rupp said. “And so they’ve had a very very steep fall of cases reported in South America."

Dr. Rupp says if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, it’s vital to avoid those outbreak areas.

That’s not just for women trying to get pregnant, either.

Their male partners should also avoid outbreak locations since the disease can be sexually transmitted.

If men do choose to travel to those climates, they should wait 2 to 6 months before trying to conceive.