2017 Zika Outlook

Last year, Zika was covered by news agencies across the country, and rightfully so. Zika is a virus that is directly connected to microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. But, as mosquitoes are the prime vector for this virus, the winter has caused a lull in cases, as well as news coverage. And, many people are asking, “What does 2017 look like?” Are we going to have a repeat of last year? Will it be worse? Will it be better? We have some good news and some bad news.

The Good News

Here in the U.S., we have been mostly spared from the devastating impact of this virus. While Zika continues to be a scourge for Latin America and countries to the south of us, the United States has seen only small outbreaks. Most reported cases have been connected to travelers returning from countries with high infection rates. And, local cases that have been found here in the states, like those documented in Brownsville, Texas, which is near the border of Mexico, have been closely monitored by the CDC and local state health organizations. On top of this, Congress has approved $1.1 billion dollars to combat this dangerous threat and to work toward developing a vaccine. All good news, indeed.

The Bad News

You may have noticed that we had a fairly mild winter. While it was certainly nice to have fewer cold days, that warm winter weather did nothing to reduce mosquito populations and will, almost certainly, lead to a faster developing and more tormenting mosquito season. If itchy bites were the only threat, there would be nothing to worry about. But increased mosquito populations are a fertile soil for the quick spread of an outbreak.

People come into the United States from Latin America, and points south, all the time. If an infected traveler is bitten by an Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito, an outbreak could spread like wildfire in a mosquito-rich environment.
Mosquito abatement services are one of the first-line defenses the U.S. government relies on to protect its citizens from mosquito-borne viruses. When mosquitoes are reduced, it is harder for viruses to find a vector. If we are to keep our states and our communities safe, it is vital that we increase our mosquito reduction efforts to meet the threat of this coming mosquito season. This cannot be accomplished by government agencies alone. It is up to private property owners to take part in mosquito abatement to ensure the coverage necessary. Reach out to us today to learn more, or to schedule mosquito services.

Zika Virus: Questions & Answers

There is a lot of fear right now over the threat of Zika virus in the United States, and justifiably so. This is a virus that has been proven to cause microcephaly in unborn children at all stages of development. It is also a virus that has spread at an alarming rate through Brazil and other South American countries. So we’ve asked our on-staff entomologist, Glen Ramsey, to address some of the questions we’ve been getting.

“Is the mosquito that transmits Zika found in the U.S.?”

Glen Ramsey: Yes. There are currently two mosquitoes in the U.S. that have the potential to transmit the Zika virus. Both of these are in the genus Aedes and both species exist throughout the southeastern United States, west all the way to Georgia and Tennessee, and north to Connecticut and possibly farther.

“Is Zika a new virus?”

Glen Ramsey: This virus is not new at all. The first recordings of Zika virus date back to 1947 with the first human case reported in 1952. Small outbreaks have been noted but have been located in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Prior to 2007, 14 or so cases had been reported, but many more were suspected. The symptoms of Zika are similar to other diseases, and some cases were likely not reported.

“Why are we just now hearing about Zika?”

Glen Ramsey: It has come into more recent news because of the first confirmed case reported in Brazil in May of 2015. With evidence of local transmission and the mosquitoes in place, concerns grew rapidly for locations that have the mosquito vector already established.

“How can I protect myself from Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses?”

Glen Ramsey: The best way to protect yourself from mosquito vectored disease is to prevent mosquito bites. Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants and use repellents. Repellents of choice should be registered with the EPA and contain one of the following ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-3,8-diol. These have been tested for effectiveness and are considered safe when used as directed. Pregnant women should seek the advice of their doctors to determine which repellents to use safely.

“Are there pest control programs available to prevent mosquitoes?”

Glen Ramsey: While no program is going to completely eliminate all mosquitoes or chances for disease, mosquito reduction programs offered by established pest management companies can assist in reducing mosquitoes in your environment.

“Is mosquito abatement safe and effective?”

Glen Ramsey: If you choose a reputable service provider that makes specific assessments and targeted applications for mosquito reduction, then treatments are both safe and effective. It is critical that you ensure that your company of choice is registered to properly and safely perform mosquito management services.

We hope these answers helped you to better understand Zika virus and gave you actionable information to protect yourself and your family.

Zika Virus In Atlanta

In 2015, Atlanta had the distinguished honor of, once again, being added to the list of top mosquito cities in the United States. So, where did we rank in this list of 50 cities across this great land of ours? Did we make it into the top 10? We sure did! Not only did we make the top ten, we were number one! And, not only were we number one in 2015, we were number one for the two years before that. There is no doubt about it, Atlanta is number one. And, with the looming threat of a Zika virus outbreak here in the state, this has agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention watching Atlanta closely.

This is a virus that causes microcephaly in unborn babies at all stages of pregnancy. Microcephaly is a congenital condition that is characterized by an abnormal smallness of the head and incomplete brain development. For expecting mothers, this is a scary virus.

Reasons to not worry about Zika virus:

  • For 80% of those infected with the Zika virus, there are no noticeable symptoms. That means the vast majority of people don’t have to fear this virus like they would West Nile virus or malaria.
  • Zika is also not currently known to be spreading through local mosquito populations here in the United States. Cases that have been reported are from people who have recently been to other countries where Zika virus is rampant.

Reasons to be worried about Zika virus:

  • Since 80% of those infected with Zika don’t show symptoms and those that do will not likely admit themselves to a healthcare facility, Zika has the potential to spread great distances before it is detected.
  • This is not a virus pregnant women should take lightly. It is wise to take strong precautions to prevent mosquito bites if you are currently with child or attempting to become pregnant.
  • Atlanta’s high mosquito rating is an extra reason to be worried. More mosquitoes mean more chance of getting Zika or other mosquito-borne viruses. If you live in Atlanta, it is vital to learn all the many ways that mosquito bites can be prevented and to take a moment to develop an understanding of the importance of mosquito abatement.

At Active Pest Control, we work with homeowners, business owners, and municipalities to employ mosquito abatement in Atlanta and throughout Georgia. We encourage you to consider these services to help us reduce mosquito populations in our city and make Atlanta a safer place for all of us to live–and get ourselves off the list of top mosquito cities, for good. Now that would be something to be proud of.


With increasing media attention regarding confirmed cases of the Zika virus in the United States, we are providing a list of resources with more information about your health and safety concerns.

Important Things to Remember:

  • The Active Pest Control Mosquito Control plan includes a property inspection and treatments tailored to your family’s needs.
  • Active Pest Control’s current treatments DO reduce the population of mosquitoes known to carry the Zika virus.
  • The best way to prevent bites from mosquito and other insects is to wear a bug spray with DEET or a natural repellant, along with long sleeves and pants, while outside.
  • The U.S. already has strong mosquito control protocols in place; air conditioners, window screens, and vigilant chemical treatments by local governments help reduce the population of disease-spreading mosquitoes throughout the country.

Additional Health and Safety Resources: