Health Officials Prepare for a Possible New Mosquito Virus

Categories: Environment

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tanakawho
The mosquitoes that carry the new virus are black with white stripes and bite during the day.
You could be dealing with a mosquito-virus one-two punch this season. Along with West Nile, a new virus could rear its ugly head in Texas. It's name is chikungunya, and it's pronounced "chicken-goon-ya."

This mosquito season already has one twist to it. Because of the drought, mosquitoes that carry West Nile could be stronger and more persistent, which means the chances of them passing the virus could be higher. Now, add another: The mosquitoes that carry chikungunya are different from those that pass West Nile.

While both types are present in Dallas, West Nile mosquitoes bite at night. The mosquitoes that carry chikungunya bite during the day, which poses some new problems for county health officials.

To combat West Nile, the county is able to send trucks with mosquito spray around at night. This method is not effective for the chikungunya virus, said Erikka Neroes, Dallas County's health and human services' public relations officer. Even though the same type of spray works for both kinds of mosquitoes, more people are out during the day. The wind is also a factor, Neroes told Unfair Park.

The county is developing a plan for the new virus. It is "very likely" that county employees will spray for mosquitoes from the ground while the sun shines, Neroes told us. And traps for the chikungunya mosquitoes have been ordered. Unlike the traps for West Nile, these traps have a white-and-black color scheme and a human scent that attracts the mosquitoes. (West Nile traps use standing water and a night light.)

As of June 24 this year, 88 human cases of the chikungunya virus have been reported in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. None have been reported in Texas, but county officials have told doctors to keep their eyes open for symptoms, most often fever and joint pain.

Dr. Joon Lee of the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth said the virus might be hard to hard for doctors to spot, though, because the two viruses have similar symptoms.

On Tuesday night, city trucks sprayed in five ZIP codes and will do so again Wednesday night.

Unlike West Nile, which can be passed from birds to humans, chikungunya is only passed from human to human. A mosquito will bite an infected human and then bite another, passing the virus. The incubation time of chikungunya is three to seven days. West Nile is five to 15, Lee said.

The type of mosquito that carries chikungunya also carries dengue in tropical environments, such as Latin America and Southeast Asia, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Dengue is not a problem in the United States. Chikungunya is rarely fatal, but the pain it produces could last for months, according to the CDC.

If you haven't been infected with the virus, you're susceptible, especially, just like with West Nile, if you're an infant or over 65 years old. However, according to the 2011 report, researchers believe that once exposed to the virus, you'll develop "long lasting" immunity against being infected again.

Between 1995 and 2005, three travelers returning to the United States were found to have the new virus, according to the 2011 report. Between 2006 and 2010, that number jumped to 106.

The virus could date back the 1700s, but it was first identified in the early 1950s during an outbreak in Tanzania. In the 1960s and 1970s, the virus spread from rural Asia to cities. In the mid-2000s, about 500,000 cases popped up on islands in the Indian Ocean. The virus spread to the Indian mainland soon after, affecting nearly 1.5 million people. There have been outbreaks across Africa, and the virus recently appeared in Italy and France. It then showed up in the Caribbean in late 2013, carried by travelers, according to the CDC.

Lee told Unfair Park the number of cases in the United States could very well increase with people taking vacations to the Caribbean during the summer.

The best way to protect yourself from chikungunya is the same way you'd protect yourself from West Nile. Use DEET whenever you're outside. Wear pants and long-sleeves. Remember: These mosquitoes are daytime biters. And run your A/C; otherwise your house could be a mosquito hotel.

Send your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.


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26 comments
markie19
markie19 topcommenter

markie19

6 minutes ago

markie19

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Kerry Goad6 seconds ago via YouTube

LikeLike · · Subscribe on YouTube · SharePelican Brief TrailerPelican Brief TrailerDeleteShareLikeReplymarkie195 hours ago

Read new times uses my stories of the janbrewisms and then writes stories and gets me no help darrow k soll killed no suicide is Steve Lemons dirty or Matthew -google Markerry Soll Mc Night medium so i can get no law enforcement in most states they killed him not crazy 

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scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

Because of the drought the mosquitoes are stronger???  That's such alarmist reasoning.  Seriously, every cause is a reason we're in unprecedented Chicken Little alarmism.  Too much water, oh, big, mighty strong skeeters, too little water, big, mighty strong mosquitoes.  I'm so sick of "scientists" who are nothing more than alarmists.  

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

"Wear pants and long-sleeves."  It's 90 plus degrees outside; bring back the DDT

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

Why can't Dr. Crusher invent a pill that people can take that gives a virus to mosquitos?

We have fucking handheld computers that people can't seem to walk or drive or sleep without using, why not fancy medicine?

I want my future stuff NOW!

YardStick
YardStick

Yes, let's poison our entire environment, night and day, to keep a percentage of a percentage of the population from getting sick. Kill the good bugs with the bad and keep the Bug Man coming back when all that's left are impossible to kill roaches, and ants. The scientists will surely develop a robotic bee soon enough, so don't worry about killing those poor "souls". And breathe deeply when you're outside, make sure to get all of that poison into your lungs. Surely they wouldn't put anything out there that would harm us! P.S. Enjoy that homegrown tomato, it's been peppered with airborne poison particles as well. Thanks Dallas, you saved 0.000001% from getting a fever!

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

I've already seen and been bit by these new bastards..they are big and mean, swatted one and it just bounced off.  Awesome!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Global Climate Shift Holocaust hysterics soon to follow.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

please note, there is no drought this year, this year, we're having a late Spring and unusually mild and wet Spring/Early Summer--not that unusual, but a bit more than normal.  What we're not in, here in N Texas is a drought at this time.  We're below normal on rain for the year/s but for this Spring, we're cooler/wetter than normal.  

doublecheese
doublecheese

@YardStick Mosquito spread illnesses are serious.  We used to have malaria and yellow fever in the US, but they were eradicated.  Yes, we don't have malaria here because of "airborn poison".  DDT.  


Thanks to our new friends pouring in from Central America, the mosquitoes have a fresh batch of infected hosts to draw from.  Yellow Fever, Malaria, and Dengue Fever have re-arrived en masse.  


I hope you enjoy your organic pesticide free tomatoes though.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@Joshstruckoutagain They definitely seem more rugged.  And hungrier.  I killed one so full of my blood he could barely fly.  Big nasty blood streak on the wall.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@TheRuddSki Or, conspiracy theory hysterics featuring Obama, Hillary and Mau-Mau warriors gathering weaponized mosquitoes brought into the country in order to ravage gerrymandered Republican voting districts in red states.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@doublecheese @YardStick we eradicated it by not having open sewer pits.  you're an idiot Doublecheese.  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@doublecheese  Stupid fool.  You have thousands of airplanes and ships coming into the country from all over the world carrying diseases and noxious organisms, and yet you believe it comes from the babies coming across the border from Mexico.  Dumb as ditchwater you are.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@doublecheese @Joshstruckoutagain that's every mosquito in the history of ever.  You're a fucking moron DoubleCheese.  Of course, not the drought, but humid and moist cool Spring are the reason they're bad this year.  As long as it's alarmist, it doesn't matter if the "causes" are even around to "cause" the recurring problem this year.  

doublecheese
doublecheese

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @TheRuddSki Is "weaponized mosquitoes" a euphemism for illegal aliens?  


Ironically, the diseases carried by the illegal aliens are actually weaponizing the mosquitoes.  You may be on to something here, Myrna.  Good work.

doublecheese
doublecheese

@scottindallas Sure, it was a combination of things, but DDT was key.  You are simply uninformed if you don't know that.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz hey dumbass, those people flying in from all over the world are a) Americans that have been vaccinated since birth or 2) Foreigners who had to have approved Visas with proof of vaccs if they have lived or visited somewhere that these diseases are prevalent.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Joshstruckoutagain

The "cat litter parasite" toxoplasmosis is my guess.

Scientists have discovered how the toxoplasmosis parasite may trigger the development of schizophrenia and other bipolar disorders.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CogitoErgoSum @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Cogito, if that was aimed at me, I wasnt even old enough to know what AIDS was when morons thought that way.  So, no, NO hysterics here, just facts presented to Myrna about the populace of people who arrive by legal means on ships and planes from over seas

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