Chikungunya – What Woodbridge, VA Residents Need To Know
As the weather grows warmer, mosquitoes are getting more active – and more dangerous. These deadly insects are not to be taken for granted despite their small size. In fact, they are associated with a long list of diseases, which is why you need to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from them.
One of the diseases that has become a concern for American scientists and doctors is Chikungunya. The viral infection is well established in sub-Saharan African, India, and Southeast Asia. In the last decade, it has spread to the Caribbean. Cases that have been reported in the U.S. have largely involved travelers to the Caribbean islands.
Chikungunya virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms of 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. Read more at CDC…
Because the growing numbers of Chikungunya cases have been imported, travelers are usually the most at risk of contracting the infection. As such, the CDC recommends choosing a hotel or lodging that has air conditioning, or with screens on doors and windows. Sleeping under a mosquito bed net is also advisable. Bed nets should be WHOPES-approved and treated with Permethrin, so it is best to buy one before traveling to avoid unnecessary inconveniences.
Fortunately, few fatalities have been linked to Chikungunya, and most patients feel better within a week. Additionally, the likelihood of protection from subsequent infections exists once a person recovers. However, the symptoms may persist for some. One study showed that chronic joint stiffness and pain could last for three years following the infection.
These patients most commonly described their pain as having periods of relief with subsequent reoccurrence. In addition, more than 75% reported stiffness after immobility, and 39% experienced morning stiffness.
The high prevalence of postinfection chronic joint pain underscores the necessity of chikungunya prevention and treatment. Read more at Rheumatology Advisor…
To date, Chikungunya is only treated symptomatically; it has no cure. One of the reasons why it has not become a serious problem in the U.S. is because mosquito control is pretty good here. This helps to stop local transmission even when returning travelers are infected.
As we look forward to spending more time outdoors, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves in Prince William County. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers the following tips for doing this:
Always apply an insect repellant containing at least 20 percent DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus when spending time outdoors, and reapply as directed on the label.
Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors. Choose light-colored clothing to make it easier to spot ticks and other insects.
Keep grass cut low and remove weeds, woodpiles and debris which are attractive to ticks.
Eliminate areas of standing water around the home such as flowerpots, birdbaths, baby pools, grill covers and other objects where water collect, as mosquitoes need only half an inch of water to breed. Read more at Valdosta Daily Times…
The NPMA also recommends contacting a licensed pest professional if you are concerned about mosquitoes on your property. If that’s you, and you live in Woodbridge, VA, Backyard Bug Patrol is at your service. Call us today for effective mosquito control solutions.