The WHO has just declared the Zika Virus a global public health emergency. Zika is a virus that causes microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads. And no, Zika is not yet in the U.S., but it’s important to know that once it takes root, it can travel fast in the domestic mosquito population. The mosquitos that carry this are called Aedes (rhymes, fittingly, with Hades), which are common in the United States, especially in the Gulf region and other southern states. But don’t think you are safe just because you live north of the Mason/Dixon line. Once temps start reaching 60 degrees and above, Zika can rapidly spread.
Katy Talento is a Hill staffer and an infectious disease epidemiologist specializing in the control of mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria and Dengue. Read Ms. Talento’s amusingly helpful 12 steps to help prepare for the Zika Virus. And pass along to friends and family her tips—like why city slickers will need to take more precautions when waiting for Uber than rednecks sitting in a deer stand with their favorite firearm.