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What You Need to Know About Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Mosquito-borne diseases are a significant public health concern, and according to the CDC, they are among the most complex infectious diseases to control. Mosquitoes are a vector for various diseases, including West Nile virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Dengue, and chikungunya, as well as emerging threats such as Zika virus. Arm yourself with information on how to reduce the risk of infection.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to humans, horses and other mammals via the bite of an infected mosquito. While mammals cannot pass the virus onto another feeding mosquito, bird hosts can, keeping the disease transmission cycle alive.

Zika Virus

Zika is a virus primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, with symptoms the CDC describes as fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). Symptoms are seldom severe enough to require hospitalization, and the disease rarely results in death.

Dengue Fever

Dengue is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, most commonly the Aedes aegypti species. This species is most prevalent in the southernmost American states, with heavy populations in Texas, Florida and Hawaii. In recent years, this species has also spread through much of California. According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of Dengue fever include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding.

Chikungunya Virus

Chikungunya is a viral infection spread by infected mosquitoes. While the infection is not fatal, the symptoms can cause severe pain and long-lasting effects. The most common symptoms appear 3-7 days after the bite and include joint pain/swelling, rash, fever, muscle pain and headache.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV) is one of the most serious and deadly diseases transmitted by a mosquito. When infected, symptoms occur between four and ten days after contracting the disease and begin with headache, vomiting, chills and fever. EEEV often ends with severe brain damage, seizures or coma. Since there is no specific treatment, cure, or vaccine, the severity of this disease is extremely high.

Learn more about mosquito-borne diseases on our Disease Information page.