Update on West Nile and Chickungunya

August 22, 2014By

No one likes mosquitoes. At best, they’re an annoyance you need to keep having to swat away when trying to enjoy a warm night out. However, at worst, these pests can carry two dangerous diseases known as West Nile virus and Chickungunya. Let’s take a look at both and get an update about their presence in the US.

The Arrival of Chickungunya

A year ago, most of us in the Western world had never heard of Chickungunya. That’s because it only existed in Africa and Asia. But in October, 2013, that all changed when it showed up on the island of St. Martin. Almost immediately after, this mosquito-borne disease began showing up seemingly everywhere.

In just seven months, the disease had hit over a 250,000 throughout the Caribbean, according to the Pan American Health Organization. Of course, it had also found its way into the United States.

As of July, there have been 112 confirmed cases of travelers bringing the disease into 27 different states here. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the disease had not spread from those individuals, officials believe it is probably only a matter of time before that occurs. On August 1st it was confirmed that six people in Louisiana became infected with Chikungunya while traveling out of state.

After all, as the years go by, the disease will have more time to incubate and spread amongst the more tropical regions and the US will be exposed to more and more travelers who could potentially bring Chickungunya with them.

Unfortunately, worst of all, America is home to the most potent carrier of Chickungunya: the Aedes albopictus. It is commonly called the forest mosquito or the tiger mosquito because of the black and white stripes along its body. These mosquitoes are extremely aggressive, attack during the day, and travel in large packs. Plus, it’s common across the eastern United States and has no problem going as far north as NYC and Connecticut. You’d have a hard time inventing a better carrier of such a dangerous disease.

The good news is that the disease is still extremely rare here in the United States. With the winter months practically within arm’s reach, even states like Florida will see their mosquito population dwindle. Plus, it’s important to remember that the disease isn’t usually fatal.

west-nile-screenshot

West Nile Virus

A little over 10 years ago, many people were thinking of West Nile virus the way we’re currently looking at chickungunya. This disease, which is also carried by mosquitoes, began showing up in the US in 1999. Since then, it has continued to pop up in this country, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Although it’s associated with mosquitoes, West Nile virus actually affects a massive amount of birds every year. In fact, a telltale sign that West Nile virus may be present in a certain area is a large number of dead birds.

Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t tend to show any symptoms until it’s too late. You may have a fever or a stiff neck and then all of a sudden develop paralysis, palsy or tremors. The mortality rate for the virus is substantial, but death is far from a sure thing despite that fact that there is no specific form of treatment as of yet.

Updates on Both Diseases

Both diseases continue to be an issue, though not a serious threat. Recently, a new case of Chickungunya was discovered in Mississippi. This brings the total of infected people in that state alone to six.

Unfortunately, West Nile has also been active. Public health officials have out a “moderate” warning regarding the disease. The most recent death occurred in Montgomery, Alabama.

As both diseases depend on mosquitoes to infect people, the obvious step you need to take is avoiding them at all costs. For more information on the services offered and for a free mosquito assessment and control estimate, call Fischer Environmental today, (800) 391-2565.

 

Sources:

http://msbusiness.com/blog/2014/08/13/one-new-case-chikungunya-virus-identified-resident-dies-west-nile/

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/bugs-your-july-4th-bbq-beware-chikungunya-west-nile-n147881

http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/Climate-change/news/news/2014/04/first-hand-experience-vector-borne-diseases/researching-the-chikungunya-and-west-nile-viruses

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/west-nile-virus/basics/definition/con-20023076

http://www.boston.com/health/2014/08/14/mosquitoes-with-west-nile-found-east-boston/7NgPOkJ1cv3WZyvMvLAbIK/story.html

Filed in: ChickungunyaWest Nile