In contrast to other mosquito diseases, Zika is unlikely to spread much in the United States, although occasional outbreaks are possible as travelers bring the virus back and get bitten by mosquitoes. The risk is mostly confined to the south because the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread Zika don’t live in colder climates. The risk might only be for women who are currently pregnant because 80% of people infected by Zika don’t even feel sick at all. But there are some other mosquito-borne illnesses that are worth watching out for. These mosquito diseases are endemic in the US meaning they are here year-round. Below is the description of few of them against which adequate repellent treatment is crucial.
West Nile virus
West Nile was only introduced into the United States in 1999, but it quickly spread to all 48 continental states as well as Canada and Mexico. Since then, it’s infected hundreds of thousands of people, causing severe illness in about 40,000 and killing more than 1,600. More than 2,000 cases were reported last year alone, more than 1,300 of them serious infections that caused meningitis or encephalitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California had a bad year with more than 700 cases and 45 deaths in 2015. West Nile spreads badly because it is carried by several different species of mosquito that are common across the U.S., and because it also infects birds, so they act as what’s called a reservoir for the virus. They can carry West Nile to new places and help keep it circulating. That’s not known to happen with Zika.
Eastern equine encephalitis virus
Like Zika, the eastern equine encephalitis virus usually does not cause symptoms. An average of eight cases a year are reported in the U.S., according to CDC. Most are in Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. It kills about a third of patients who develop serious symptoms and can cause severe brain damage in those who survive. Maine health officials reported a death from the encephalitis virus in November and two people in New York died from the virus last year. Encephalitis virus lives in birds but a number of species of mosquito that bite both birds and people can spread it, including Aedes, Coquillettidia, and Culex mosquitoes.
La Crosse encephalitis
La Crosse encephalitis affects 80 to 100 people a year, according to CDC. It’s found mostly in the upper midwest — Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, as well as the mid-Atlantic and southeast. It’s carried by the the treehole mosquito, or Aedes triseriatus. Most people don’t know they have it but it can cause severe symptoms, mostly in children. Fewer than 1 percent of people who develop serious symptom die.
St Louis Encephalitis
This one’s rare but people in the southeast can catch it year-round. In some years, like 2013, just a single case was reported. In 2004, 15 cases were reported. But in 1975 there was a big epidemic of severe disease that affected 2,000 people in the midwest.
This one is not a virus but a parasite called Plasmodium. It’s used to be common in the U.S. In fact, it’s one of the reasons the CDC even exists. Widespread spraying in the 1940s killed most of the mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite, and malaria was eradicated from the U.S. in 1951. Unlike the other mosquito diseases listed here, malaria is not endemic in the U.S. but it’s so common that 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed each year. Most are in travelers but they have sparked a few local outbreaks.
Other Mosquito Diseases which are not currently in the US
One of the most common mosquito diseases caused by one of four viruses common to tropical and subtropical climates. The disease is spread by Aedes mosquitoes in much the same way as West Nile and other encephalitic viruses. A mosquito is able to transmit dengue about a week after biting an infected person. As the dengue virus multiplies and damages cells, an infected person begins to show symptoms similar to other infections: High fever, headaches, back and joint pain, rashes and eye pain. If the fever lasts up to a week and is followed by bruising and bleeding, those are symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever. The fatality rate for hemorrhagic fever is about 5 percent, according to the CDC. The World Health Organization estimates that 500,000 people are hospitalized with dengue every year. More than 1.5 million cases of dengue were reported in Brazil in 2015. It causes occasional cases in warmer U.S. states, most recently Hawaii. Hemorrhagic fever cases are estimated in the hundreds of thousands. It is more common to Southeast Asia, where children are especially susceptible. Like most viruses, there is no specific treatment. Doctors recommend acetaminophen, plenty of fluids and rest for dengue and hospitalization for hemorrhagic fever.
A flavivirus orginally common to primates in Africa and South America. Like dengue, it is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, especially Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito as well as the famous Zika mosquito. The virus incubates in the body for three to six days before an infected person begins to show the common infection symptoms of fever, chills, headache and nausea. There may be a short remission before the disease returns with much more serious symptoms such as nosebleeds, bloody vomit and abdominal pain. Fatality rates range from 15 to 50 percent. While there is no treatment for yellow fever, it is possible to be vaccinated against infection for those living in or traveling to climates where the disease is prevalent.
Chikungunya fever is caused by a virus that is spread to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Like Dengue, it is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, especially Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever and Zika mosquito) and Aedes albopictus (the Asian tiger mosquito). The incubation period is usually 3-7 days and symptoms can include sudden fever, joint pain with or without swelling, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, lower back pain and a rash. There is currently no vaccine to prevent Chikungunya. Management of the disease includes rest, fluids and medications to relieve the symptoms of fever and pain, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and paracetamol.
What Are The Best Mosquito Treatments Available ?
There are currently vaccines for the Yellow Fever and Dengue and one will be available in a couple of years against Malaria. Otherwise, the best way to prevent the Mosquito diseases is to use repellent spray, bed nets or mosquito traps. Clicke on our Reviews to figure out what are the Best Mosquito Repellents, Best Mosquito Traps or Best Mosquito Nets.