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Mosquito borne diseases

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is the leading cause of mosquito borne illnesses in the continental United States. It is mostly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of West Nile Virus occur during mosquito season, which begins in April and concludes around October. Mosquito season peaks when the weather becomes hot and humid. There are no vaccines or medications to prevent and treat West Nile at this time. About one in five people who are infected develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomitting, diarrhea and rash. About one in every hundred people affected by West Nile develop serious and potentially life threatening illness affecting the central nervous system. These illness include encephalitis that causes inflammation of the brain and meningitis which causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. 

EEE Virus is a rare and is a brain infection that causes swelling of the brain (encephalitis). The incubation period for EEE can be four to ten days. EEE can cause symptoms including chills and fever, but some people will be asymptomatic. There is currently no treatment for EEE.

EEE Eastern Equine encephalitis


Zika can be spread several ways; through the bite of an infected mosquito, partner to partner through sexual intercourse and/or from a pregnant woman to her fetus. There is currently no vaccine for Zika and most people infected will show no symptoms or mild symptoms. The symptoms of Zika consist of fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes and muscle pain. Symptoms can last several days to one week once infected. 

Zika poses an increased threat to pregnant women and if infected, the virus can spread to the fetus causing life threatening problems. Zika has been linked to miscarriage, still birth and birth defects such as microcephaly, which is a birth defect of the brain and Guillain-Barre Syndrome which affects the nervous system. 

Chikungunya is a virus in our blood that is contracted through mosquito bites. If you get bit during the first week after contracting Chikungunya, you can actually spread the virus back to healthy mosquitoes, which in turn infect other people. There are currently no vaccines or medications to prevent/treat this virus. Most people infected with Chikungunya will develop symptoms. Symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash. Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Newborns, adults older than sixty five and people with medical conditions are at greater risk of more severe symptoms. 


Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever is spread from the same species of mosquitoes as West Nile Virus and Zika, the Aedes species. Dengue Fever has emerged as a worldwide problem since the 1950's. Although Dengue rarely occurs in the United States, it is endemic in Puerto Rico and other popular tourist destinations in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Dengue is the leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 4oo million people are infected yearly. There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection. When infected, early recognition and prompt supportive treatment can substantially lower the risk of medical complications and death.