What's going around? Mosquito-borne illnesses - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

What's going around? Mosquito-borne illnesses

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Mosquitoes are out in full force. Their bites can transmit a variety of viral illnesses. These viruses have been creating epidemics in some countries, and travelers are now bringing them closer to home.

Here is some key information and prevention tips from the National Pest Management Association and director of the infection prevention program at Loyola University.


  • Location: According to the CDC, 31 states have reported cases of Chikungunya in 2014 - Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. All of the cases have been travel-associated, with the exception of two locally acquired cases in Florida.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms start four to eight days after the mosquito bite and generally resolve after one week. These include the rapid onset of severe joint pains (especially in the hands and feet) and fever. Infected persons can also have headaches, muscle pain, rash and joint swelling. Chikungunya is typically not fatal, but the symptoms can be extremely painful.
  • Treatment: There is no specific vaccine or antiviral drug treatment for Chikungunya, so physicians usually direct patients to use over-the-counter analgesics and medication to control fever, and to get plenty of rest and fluids.

West Nile Virus (WNV)

  • Location: According to the CDC, a total of 28 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. Fourteen of these states have reported human infections - Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
  • Symptoms: People typically develop symptoms of WNV between three and 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and the symptoms may persist for several weeks. These include swollen glands, eye pain, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. However, in about 80 percent of cases, the infected person will display no symptoms and may not even know they have contracted the virus.
  • Treatment: There is no specific treatment for WNV. Milder cases usually resolve spontaneously and do not require medical attention, however, more severe cases may require hospitalization for monitoring and support.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

  • Location: The Massachusetts Department of Health recently reported that mosquitoes carrying EEE were found in the state for the first time this year.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms start four to 10 days after the mosquito bite. The virus generally lasts 1-2 weeks, and causes chills, fever and body aches. However, some people can develop an encephalitic form of EEE. This form of the virus can result in fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness,vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and coma, according to the CDC. Approximately a third of all people with EEE die from the disease.
  • Treatment: No human vaccine against EEE infection or specific antiviral treatment is available.

Mosquito Prevention Tips

  • Always apply an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus or IR3535 when outdoors, and reapply as directed on the label. As early as next year, some insect repellent packaging will indicate how many hours the products are effective at repelling mosquitoes, ticks or both.
  • Take steps to get rid of areas of standing water around the home such as flowerpots, birdbaths, baby pools, grill covers and other objects where water collects. Mosquitoes need only about a half an inch of water to breed.
  • Screen all windows and doors, and patch up even the smallest tear or hole on screens.
  • Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes to protect your skin when outdoors.
  • If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, contact a pest management company or your local mosquito abatement district.

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