New mosquito-borne diseases are popping up all the time! It wasn’t that long ago that we told you about the CDC’s report of 3 times as many cases of mosquito and tick-borne illnesses in the US, due in part to new viruses popping up from year to year. Now here we are with an example of just that: the Keystone Virus.
Channel 4 News Jacksonville tells us that after a year and a half of study, University of Florida researchers are confirming the first human case of the Keystone Virus on record. A teenage boy showed up at an Urgent Care facility in North Central Florida with a fever and rash in August of 2016. At that time it was Zika that was on everyone’s mind so they tested him immediately. He tested negative. The boy suffered no other symptoms and no real diagnosis was made… until now.
What is the Keystone Virus?
Although this is the first proven case in a human, Keystone is not new. It was found to be carried by the Aedes atlanticus mosquito in Keystone Florida in 1964. Since then the Keystone virus has been found in different animal species from Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Connecticut according to the CDC.
However, it wasn’t until now that there was a test for the virus in humans. J. Glenn Morris, director of Emerging Pathogens Institute at UF, told NPR station WUSF it was a year and a half of standard screening and random lab work that brought them to a final conclusion.
The only visible symptoms, in this case, were fever and rash, however, Professor John Lednicky, also a member of UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute and author of this study, says that Keystone belongs to the same family of pathogens that can cause encephalitis in several species, including humans. Morris believes that it is likely there are more cases of Keystone in humans in Florida, but it has simply never been recognized since no one ever actually knew to look for it. Morris also emphasizes how little we really know about vector-borne illnesses and how they are spread and how important continued research is.
Protect Yourself Against Mosquito Bites
We continue to find out about new viruses that mosquitoes transmit. After these discoveries, it often takes a great deal of time to fully understand the symptoms, treatments, and long-term effects. That is why prevention is so important. Keeping yourself protected against mosquito bites is about so much more than just stopping the annoyance. It’s about health and public safety.
At Mosquito Squad of Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra, we urge you to do your part. Keeping the mosquito population down helps to prevent the spread of these diseases. It’s important to do all you can to keep your yard as well as your community clear of the places that mosquitoes breed.
Following the 7Ts of mosquito control is the responsible thing to do at home and throughout your community. Professional treatment is also a necessary control method in Florida. With our environment and temperatures, it is too easy for mosquitoes to breed if we aren’t diligent. Call us today and let us help you create the right plan for protecting your family and helping your community.