If you’ve ever been bitten by a mosquito, you’ve probably asked the question, “What viruses do mosquitoes carry?” Not only are mosquito bites itchy and annoying, but they can also transmit diseases to humans and animals. This especially becomes a problem during the warm summer months when outdoor activities like playing sports, grilling, camping, hiking and swimming are more common and mosquitoes are abundant.
When you get a mosquito bite, you probably don’t stop to think about what viruses mosquitoes carry and wonder if you are at risk. However, mosquito-borne viruses are a real concern. In fact, over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne illnesses each year.
So, what viruses do mosquitoes carry?
Mosquitoes can carry a variety of viruses. Some of the most common include:
- West Nile Virus (WNV) – West Nile virus made its way into America in 1999 and has since then remained a common mosquito-borne illness. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines or medications to prevent and treat WNV, but it rarely causes symptoms, and most people recover completely.
- Malaria – Malaria is the most widespread mosquito-borne illness and affects 350-500 million people each year. Malaria causes flu-like symptoms, often with high fever and shaking chills. Treatment for malaria depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of malaria and its severity. Malaria can be cured with prescription drugs but can become life-threatening if not promptly treated.
- Chikungunya – Chikungunya virus causes symptoms such as fever, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, and rash, and can last anywhere from a week to a month. There is no treatment for chikungunya virus and the symptoms can be severe and disabling. However, it rarely results in death.
- Yellow Fever – Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne virus that is found in areas of South America and Africa. Although rare, yellow fever can cause illness in U.S. travelers. Yellow fever typically causes mild symptoms, if any symptoms appear at all. People who do develop symptoms often experience fever, chills, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. There are no specific treatments for yellow fever, but you can receive a vaccine in order to prevent it.
Preventing Mosquito-Borne Viruses
When you are trying to have fun outside, the last thing you want to worry about is the viruses that mosquitoes carry. The best way to avoid mosquito-borne illnesses and achieve peace of mind is to take measures to prevent mosquito bites. You can do this by:
- Using insect repellent
- Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants while outside
- Avoid going outside during times that mosquitoes are most active (between dusk and dawn)
If you have been bitten by mosquitoes and notice signs and symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, visit your local FastMed Urgent Care. Our caring medical will work to determine the cause of your symptoms and provide you with the appropriate treatment options.
FastMed Urgent Care owns and operates nearly 200 centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas that provide a broad range of acute/episodic and preventive healthcare services 365 days a year. FastMed also provides workers’ compensation and other occupational health services at all its centers, and family and sports medicine services at select locations. FastMed has successfully treated more than six million patients and is the only independent urgent care operator in North Carolina, Arizona and Texas to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information about locations, services, hours of operation, insurance and prices, visit www.fastmed.com.