Mosquito Virus Information

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West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can infect humans, birds, horses, and other mammals. In most humans, West Nile virus infection causes a mild or moderate, short-lived flu-like illness, or causes no symptoms at all. However, in some cases, particularly among persons 50 years of age and older, it can cause serious neurological diseases such as encephalitis, meningitis, or paralysis. West Nile virus first appeared in North America in New York City in 1999. Since then, the virus has spread across the continental United States.

Zika Virus

Zika virus is primarily spread to people through mosquito bites. The virus can be spread from mother to child. Spread of the virus through blood transfusion and sexual contact has also been reported. Approximately 80% of people infected with the virus do not become ill. For those who do develop symptoms, illness is generally mild and typically lasts a few days to a week. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and fatalities are rare. An increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome was noted during an outbreak of Zika virus in French Polynesia in 2014. An increase in microcephaly was noted during an outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil in 2015.

Chikungunya Virus

Chikungunya (pronunciation: \chik-en-gun-ye) virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers. There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat chikungunya virus infection. Travelers can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. When traveling to countries with chikungunya virus, use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.