One Gift You Don’t Want from The Caribbean Is Chikungunya

Author: Mosquito Squad of Chelmsford & Cambridge

Were you one of the many North Shore residents who planned a Caribbean vacation for this summer? It’s certainly a popular summer vacation destination for many US residents. Sun, sand, surf, island nightlife; the Caribbean has it all. After the winter we had this year, how could a Caribbean vacation not be fun?

Unfortunately, there is one thing some returning vacationers may wish they had left on the islands after their vacation. Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne illness that is literally sweeping across the Caribbean and no one wants to bring it home with them. Unfortunately, some travelers to the Caribbean already have.

The first case in the Western Hemisphere was on St. Martin’s Island in December 2013. The CDC now reports, 7 months later, the number of suspected cases stands at 165,990. At the time of this writing, fifty-seven US travelers to the Caribbean have brought the virus back to 15 of our states, according to NBC affiliate KJRH in Tulsa, OK.

Chikungunya results in few fatalities but there is no vaccine for the virus. Symptoms usually appear 3-7 days after an infected mosquito bite and will typically last one week. Fever, headache and joint pain are the main symptoms of the disease. The joint pain a patient experiences can be severe. Some patients may even suffer for months or years with the arthritic-like symptoms caused by Chikungunya. Pain medication can be prescribed for the discomfort but there is no treatment.

After infecting a human host, the disease is spread to other mosquitoes as they bite someone already infected with the virus. These infected mosquitoes in turn bite other uninfected human hosts. For this reason, it is important that anyone with symptoms of the disease exercise caution and protect themselves from further mosquito bites. The two mosquito species that carry Chikungunya both live in the US. They are daytime feeders, unlike other mosquito species who feed from dusk to dawn.

So far, no local occurrences or transmissions have been reported in the US. Travelers visiting areas where the virus is known to occur such as the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands and 2 countries in Europe, Italy and France, contracted the disease there. Scientists at the CDC believe it is only a matter of time before small, isolated local outbreaks occur here in the US, as they have seen in Europe. We hope Chikungunya doesn’t make its way to the north shore but regardless of the mosquito-borne illness, protecting yourself from mosquito bites is the best plan. Although it’s more difficult to protect yourself from bites outside your home, there is a way to protect yourself while in your yard. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray includes treatment around the perimeter of your yard to eliminate 90+ percent of the mosquitoes and ticks in your yard.

To learn more about our highly effective barrier sprays for both mosquitoes and ticks, contact Mosquito Squad of Chelmsford & Cambridge today at (978) 381-4028.