America is in Dengue-Denial

Most Americans are unaware of the presence of mosquito-related diseases like dengue and chikungunya, which are found in the U.S., a new survey finds.

The survey, from the National Pest Management Association, found that there was a decent level of awareness of West Nile Virus, almost nobody (less than 9%) knew that chikungunya and dengue are found in the U.S.

Chikungunya is an infection caused by the chikungunya virus that causes fever, joint pains and rash. In extreme cases in can be fatal.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded the first-ever cases of mosquitoes spreading chikungunya within the continental U.S. These occurred in in Florida, but there is concern that more cases might be on the way – and in other states.

Dengue fever, or (breakbone fever), is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles.

It can develop into dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.

According to CDC, most dengue cases in the U.S. occur among residents of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Samoa and Guam.

Of course, we still have West Nile Virus to deal with: there have been 90 reported human cases of WNV and 3 fatal cases reported in Arizona, California and Texas as of August 4, 2015.

More than 2,000 human cases reported to the CDC’s ArboNET in both 2013 and 2014, and since 2009 there have been more than 41,000 human cases reported and 1,765 deaths.

While West Nile is the cause of greatest concern, these other dangerous mosquito borne illnesses deserve attention as well since, like WNV, they could become more common.

Peak mosquito season will continue well into October in many parts of the country, so keep these hazards in mind, and take precautions by eliminating (as much as possible) any standing water around your property.

Install, (or repair) screens on doors and windows, and find a use a good mosquito repellent whenever you are out doors – especially during peak mosquito hours of dusk and dawn.

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