With the holiday season in full swing, millions of Americans will be traveling far and wide to visit family, catch up with friends, and just getaway from hectic everyday life. During this time of year, many people head south to escape the cooler temperatures. And while at home mosquitoes might be the last thing on your mind, these pests are still active and causing plenty of problems in some popular travel destinations. We want everyone to have a safe and fun holiday experience, so read up on these mosquito-borne illnesses, where they are active, and ways you can protect yourself against them while traveling this season.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus has spread quickly in the past two years through the Pacific Islands, South America, the Caribbean and now the United States. Usually lasting about a week, this virus causes rash, fever, joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, vomiting, and conjunctivitis (Pink Eye). Zika is especially dangerous for pregnant women.
Zika has no cure or vaccine. People should take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites and standing water, which provide ideal breeding grounds for the pests. There are travel health notifications for many popular holiday destinations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so check those before booking your trip if you have anyone in your family who is pregnant.
This mosquito-borne virus arrived in 2013 and quickly spreading to Central America, South America, and parts of Florida. The illness causes severe headaches, joint pain, rash, and fever. “Chikungunya” is the Makonde word for “it bends up,” because victims are often in bed for weeks, crippled with pain…yikes!
According to the Pan American Health Organization, more than 120,000 cases have been reported in 2016 alone, 135 of them resulting in death. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or cure for Chikungunya. Experts advise people to take precautions such as using insect repellent, adding screens to windows, and wearing long sleeves and pants.
Many of you have probably heard of Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne illness that is the leading cause of illness and death in the tropics. Over 400 million people are infected yearly with Dengue, a virus that causes high fever, headaches, nausea, and severe body aches. Once again there is no vaccine, and people with the virus can expect to spend up to two weeks recovering.
Mosquito Joe takes all mosquito-borne illnesses very seriously. Educating people about these diseases and the importance of protection against mosquitoes is one of our core company values. Whether it be educating people through information on our website, blog posts, or our annual Mosquito Control Awareness Week efforts, we strive to keep you in the know about recent trends in mosquito borne illnesses and tips to keep your lifestyle (and holiday travel!) mosquito-free.
If you’re in a southern area of the United States, we’ve got locations still open for business to keep you mosquito free this season. Mosquitoes stay active until the weather stays consistently below 55 degrees, so give them a call if you’re having an outdoor pest issue. Our mosquito barrier spray will not only allow you to enjoy the outdoors fully, it will protect your family and pets against these potentially dangerous diseases.
On that uplifting note, happy holidays and safe travels!