Chick-V & …

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What’s the big deal about mosquitoes ?, one volunteer asked.

Discomfort (which we will not worry about here) and deadly (or disfiguring) disease …

Two mosquito-borne diseases are ‘new’ or emerging in Florida: Chikungunya & dengue fever

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Local transmission of the viral disease Chikungunya (Chick-V)- which translates to ‘bent over’ – in the Americas began in 2013. More than 1.2 million cases have been reported in 44 countries on the Americas. 4 of these cases were in St. Lucie County. Though not deadly, this disease often leaves behind painful rheumatoid arthritis-like symptoms.

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Dengue fever, also known as breakbone fever, has 4 serotypes. Key West, Floride, experienced dengue fever outbreaks in 2009 (28 cases) and 2010 (66 cases). Your chances of dying of dengue hemorrhagic fever increases with each time you contract another serotype.

These 2 diseases are transmitted by day-biting domestic mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti & Aedes albopictus) that you ‘grow’ in your own yard, including in bromeliads.

What can you do? Drain and Defend: Properly apply an effective repellant.

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West Nile virus is well-established in the U.S. First reported in New York in 1999, WNV found its way to Florida by 2001 and to California by 2002. Human cases have been reported in Texas & Arizona this year, as shown on this map from the Center for Disease Control …

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Another well-established arbovirus, eastern equine encephalitis –EEE — “is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33% mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors”, according to the Center for Disease Control.

A parasitic disease, malaria was thought to be ‘eradicated’ from the United States in 1970. Nonetheless, Two locally acquired cases in 1996 and 7 locally acquired cases in 2003 were reported in Palm Beach County.

The study of arthropods of medical significance (especially mosquitoes) is the focus of the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida. Click here to find out more about the research of this prestigious institution.

With increased human travel, mosquito-borne diseases swiftly spread throughout the world. Protect yourself!

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