MILWAUKEE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health officials are on high alert and making preparations in the United States as the first domestically-transmitted cases of chikungunya (chik-en-GUN-ye) have been confirmed in Florida. Up until now, the virus had only affected travelers to the Caribbean. Chikungunya has already been imported to 31 states (including Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas) by residents returning from overseas travel. Chikungunya, which has already infected more than 10,000 people in the West Indies, is a debilitating mosquito-borne disease carried by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which are daytime biting mosquitoes commonly found in the U.S.
“Aedes mosquitoes are potential carriers of viruses such as yellow fever, dengue and alphaviruses like chikungunya. Humans who already have the chikungunya virus infect the mosquitoes that bite them and the mosquitoes in turn spread the disease when they bite others,” said Dr. David Sanders, associate professor of biology at Purdue University and an expert on mosquito-borne diseases.
Because there is no vaccine or treatment for chikungunya, questions are emerging about what families and individuals can do to guard against potential infection. Dr. Sanders explains that the best way to avoid mosquito bites is to use multiple types of mosquito abatement tactics, such as:
- Eliminating standing water in places like bird bath pools and making sure gutters are unclogged
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors
- Applying topical insect repellants that include DEET
- Using flying insect traps that attract mosquitoes, such as Dynatrap
As a two-fold health warning to Americans and to keep the disease from further invading the U.S., public health officials are urging residents to know the facts about this disease and be on the lookout for family and neighbors demonstrating symptoms, especially those who have recently returned from the World Cup in Brazil where chikungunya is prevalent. Symptoms of chikungunya, which can be painful and last for up to a few weeks, include fever, headache, rashes, vomiting, exhaustion and muscle or joint pain, according to the CDC.
“[Aedes] mosquitoes do not travel far and typically spend their whole lives traveling no further than the length of a few football fields, so the mosquitoes we should be worried about are in our backyards,” said Dr. Sanders.
To speak with Dr. David Sanders or to find out how individuals can protect themselves this summer against mosquito-borne diseases, please contact Michael Ruta, digital account executive, at 617-646-3344 or by email at MRuta@SchneiderPR.com.
For more information on mosquito abatement devices that can protect against insects, visit Dynatrap.com.