By DENISHA McKNIGHT
As the seasons change from warm to hot, residents should be very cautious of not only the heat but also the rising health risks, such as the Zika virus.
“With summer coming, the Zika threat will get worse,” said Claude Jacob, president of the National Association of County and City Health Officials during a press conference discussing the Zika threat May 31.
Many people are at risk of contracting the virus through a mosquito bite this summer, particularly people who live close to the Gulf Coast and pregnant women. Last year, there were 5,300 Zika cases reported in the U.S. Furthermore, 250 pregnant women were confirmed to have Zika and, of those, 10 percent delivered babies with Zika-related birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Reports haven’t been broken down racially yet, but researchers have considered several social variables.
“They are taking it into consideration. Social determinants are important,” said Oscar Alleyne, NACCHO senior adviser. “People who work outside have a higher risk, and people whose housing is less safe such as lack of air conditioning and screens are at higher risk as well. People who are lower on the socio-economic gradient [also] are more at risk.”