DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The latest snapshot of the Zika Virus in the United States, shows 544 cases of Zika with none acquired locally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Two months from now, for sure, I would anticipate us seeing a pretty significant change based on the Olympics and what that may bring to the United States,” said Dr. Ginger Cameron, professor of pharmacy practice at Cedarville University. “So, I do think this is just the beginning.”
She is urging people to be mindful heading into summer, and to take precaution during mosquito season. She explained how the Zika virus could make its way to Ohio.
“Most likely what would happen is somebody would travel south to a Zika-infected region, they would get bitten, come back to the United States and be bitten by a mosquito here and then that mosquito would bite someone else, and then it would start to spread,” she said.
Doctor Cameron said it’s important to use bug spray. Currently, there’s no vaccine to prevent Zika virus disease, but the CDC outlines the best ways to prevent mosquito bites.
Cameron also spoke about growing concerns regarding Yellow fever – another mosquito-borne virus. She said currently Angola is experiencing its largest outbreak of Yellow fever in 130 years.
“What’s significant about this, is that it’s the same mosquito that carries Zika,” said Dr. Cameron.
She said with the convergence of so many people in Brazil for the summer Olympics, there is the possibility that we could end up seeing Yellow fever in the United States again for the first time in more than a hundred years.
Cameron said it’s concerning to see a reemergence of these illnesses we thought were in our past. In part, she blames complacency. “For example, Yellow fever is preventable with a vaccination, but the world vaccination availability is low,” she said. “We don’t have enough to vaccinate everybody.”
“We’re really not as prepared as we should be.”