You’ve probably heard that there are now a handful of confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Florida. But, according to experts, you really really really don't need to start wearing biohazard suits. Here, five reasons Zika’s arrival in the U.S. shouldn’t totally freak you out.
1. We knew this was coming—and we’re prepared.
Experts have been expecting the arrival of Zika since the beginning of mosquito season, meaning this isn’t catching them off guard. States like Florida, where the virus is most likely to thrive, have long been getting a jump on mosquito control, one of the best ways to slow the spread of the virus.
2. More air conditioners mean fewer bites.
It might seem insignificant, but our country’s prevalence of A/C means Americans are less likely to be bitten by infected mosquitoes, which thrive in damp, humid areas.
3. Pregnant women still aren’t at particularly high risk.
Yes, if you’re pregnant or planning to become so, Zika is a pretty scary prospect. But take solace in knowing that your chances of contracting it are still super-super slim. For starters, you can take certain precautions in advance (avoid standing water, stay in air conditioned places, wear bug repellant). And secondly, your doctors are all on high alert to warn you if and when there’s any real risk. Also, FWIW: A diagnosis of microcephaly would be detectable via ultrasound in your second trimester, so if you’ve been having normal ultrasounds, you’re probably fine.
4. It’s unlikely to spread far, quickly.
Zika is spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus. The Aedes mosquito doesn't travel more than 150 meters in its lifetime, meaning that while there is a risk for an outbreak outside of Miami, it should be slow enough to contain.
5. The experts say so.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CBS that while Zika certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly, he doesn’t believe there will be a widespread outbreak, comparable to those seen in Puerto Rico and Brazil, where conditions have made it much easier for the virus to cause major problems.