Keeping the North Shore Updated on Chikungunya

Posted by Mosquito Squad

March 18, 2015

Mosquito Squad of the North Shore believes in keeping our community updated on the latest statistics regarding all mosquito and tick borne diseases. Mosquitoes rank at the world’s #1 pest, in terms of globally infectious diseases. Since some of us are planning to travel to the Caribbean this season, we thought it was time for an update since our last story on one of the fastest spreading viruses in the Western Hemisphere: Chikungunya.

Perhaps, you have not heard of this virus, which was first reported in Tanzania back in 1952, but only recently came into the news here in Massachusetts. The name Chikungunya comes from the African word meaning, “to contort” or “to bend up” and it accurately describes the virus, which can leave sufferers with debilitating arthritic pain for several weeks to months. The main vector mosquito for Chikungunya is the Asian Tiger Mosquito. We have these pesky day feeding mosquitoes in abundance on the North Shore. If you need a refresher, we have got you covered. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of January 2015 more than 1.3 million cases of Chikungunya had been reported in the Western Hemisphere, and 2,500 cases were reported in the United States. Almost all of the cases in the United States were brought back by travellers from the Caribbean; however, on July 17, 2014, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported the first locally infected cases in Florida involving four individuals. Since mosquitoes are known to hibernate and overwinter, scientists, doctors and citizens are paying close attention to what the long-term implications of this report means.

Symptoms for Chikungunya include:

  • high onset fever (102° – 104°F), which ends within two days
  • swollen joints
  • rash
  • severe joint pain (several weeks, up to several months, in a few cases, several years)

There is no cure or vaccine to prevent Chikungunya. The only treatment is palliative care, which means doing everything possible to make the patient comfortable for the duration of the illness. The best method to prevent the virus is mosquito control and to avoid being bitten by infected mosquitoes. By eliminating mosquitoes in your yard, you reduce your family’s risk of contact with an infected mosquito, should officials discover local cases here over the next few months. Mosquito Squad of the North Shore can protect your yard from the Asian Tiger mosquito, as well as other mosquitoes (and ticks), all season long.