What to know about Chikungunya and West Nile virus this month

Post of What to know about Chikungunya and West Nile virus this month

We’re already halfway through the hottest month of the summer, but we’re also in the peak of another season that may not be on your radar: the season for mosquito borne illness. While the risk of mosquito borne illness is present whenever mosquitoes are, the heat of summer is when we start to see numbers really start to rise. This year, we’re not only seeing the reports of West Nile cases rising; we’ve got another one to watch as reports of Chikungunya fever continue to pop up across the country.

If you read our blog post in July about Chikungunya, you read about how the disease made its presence in the United States by travelers returning from the Caribbean. As of now, four locally transmitted cases have been reported in Southern Florida. While that brings concern primarily to mosquito control in Florida, researchers are worried about any area that contains the Asian tiger mosquito. The Asian tiger mosquito is the most aggressive and the most efficient at spreading the disease. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

West Nile numbers are also rising as it makes its presence known all over the country. As of August 12, a total of 40 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. In the United States, 124 cases of West Nile virus in people have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or cure for West Nile Virus so prevention is important. Most people who become infected (80%) don’t even display symptoms, but those that do have high fever, nausea, and aching with joint pain.

Awareness of the dangers of mosquito borne illness is the first step to a safer summer; however, you should take appropriate actions to protect yourself this time of year. We’ve provided mosquito control tips for your backyard in past posts, and encourage you to protect your yard from mosquitoes with a professional mosquito control treatment, but no matter where you are outside, make sure to wear long sleeves and pants to avoid bites. Take particular care during dawn or dusk (prime mosquito feeding times) and take care of those around you as well!