CDC Confirms Mosquitoes Carrying Chikungunya Virus In U.S.

Mosquitoes have been causing us human beings trouble for a very long time. They are known to be major carriers of malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, and a handful of other diseases. The flying plagues are estimated to kill over 725,000 people a year, which actually makes the insects the most deadly creature on the planet, from our perspective at least.

The severity of the mosquitoes and their deadly cocktail of viruses has drawn attention from at least one big name. Bill Gates himself has created his own “Mosquito Week“. His goal is to emphasize the devastating effects mosquitoes have globally while showcasing efforts and research that actively fights the flying disease ridden DNA vessels.

This graph from the Center for Disease Control shows the most dangerous animals to man, including man himself. Mosquitoes prove to be a bigger threat to humans than anything else around us.

In another article presented for Mosquito Week, it’s shown how one human infected by Malaria can carry the virus for 15 years because of one mosquito that lived for only a few days.

With an arsenal of viruses capable of that much destruction, doctors and scientists have been keeping an eye on the mosquito situation for a while. The CDC has confirmed that the new virus on the mosquitoes list, the chikungunya virus, has been found in North Carolina. Sources state that the man carrying the virus became a carrier while vacationing in the Caribbean. The western hemisphere, primarily the Caribbean, has had over 135,000 suspected or confirmed patients. The disease itself was first discovered 60 some years ago in Africa.

Symptoms of the chikungunya virus typically onset 3-7 days after infection. On a good note, the virus itself is rarely known to be deadly, most patients recovering on their own within a week but some taking as long as months to fully recover. According to the CDC, “The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain, as well as headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.” While not deadly, the pain inflicted is described as debilitating and severe. Children and adults over the age of 65 are more likely to experience severe symptoms.

The chikungunya virus at the microscopic level. Photo credit: AJC1

For the moment, there’s no known way to treat those who suffer at the hands of the virus, so all the CDC can recommend for treatment is what you might be told if you were merely treating the common cold. Bed rest, lots of fluids, and over the counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen to treat fever and pain. When it’s all said and done, you’re likely to be immune to further similar infections.

To help avoid becoming an accidental blood donor for mosquitoes, be sure you’re wearing repellant, avoid standing water (especially later in the day), and try to leave as little skin as possible exposed.