Every savvy traveler knows that January and February are the best months to take a cruise, or plan a tropical getaway to an exotic location abroad such as the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Not only will these destinations allow Marylanders to escape the cold, wet winter, it is also many times more economical from a booking standpoint to travel in the early part of the year. With this in mind, Mosquito Squad of Howard County and Montgomery County wants to make you aware of a mosquito-borne illness causing problems in areas of the Caribbean and beyond —Chikungunya.
In case you haven’t heard of this illness with a strange name, Chikungunya is caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. This disease rarely results in death, but the symptoms can be severe and disabling. Most people who get sick feel better within a week. In some people, the joint pain may last for months or even years.
Chikungunya originally got its name from the phrase “which bends up” in the local dialect in Tanzania where it was first identified in the early 1950s. The term described the posture of someone with the disease, bent over with pain. Most victims suffer extreme joint pain for 5-12 days, making it hard for them to grasp things with their hands or put weight on their legs. The pain usually subsides by the two-week mark, but a small number of patients “continue to have sporadic bouts of joint pain
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), In December 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported local transmission of this illness in Saint Martin. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with Chikungunya and are spreading it to people. This was the first time local transmission has been reported in the Americas. In addition, local transmission of Chikungunya is now being reported in other countries in the Caribbean. As of January 9, 2015, the following Caribbean countries have reported cases:
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Barthelemy
- Saint Kitts
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Martin (French)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Sint Maarten (Dutch)
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- US Virgin Islands
The CDC recommends that travelers to the Caribbean protect themselves from mosquito bites. Some travelers may be more likely to get this illness, have severe disease, or be at higher risk for other reasons. CDC advises travelers in high-risk groups to discuss their travel plans with their health care provider. These groups include the following:
- People who have arthritis
- People with serious underlying medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes)
- People older than 65.
- Women who are late in their pregnancies, because of the risk to babies born at the time their mother is sick
- Long-term travelers, including missionaries and humanitarian aid workers and people visiting friends and relatives
- People who might have difficulty avoiding mosquito bites, such as those planning to spend a lot of time outdoors or staying in rooms without window screens or air conditioning.
Mosquito Squad of Howard County & Montgomery County is a locally owned pest-control company that helps you take back your backyard and your lifestyle! We offer proven solutions to rid your property of mosquitoes, stink bugs and ticks, including our barrier spray service, automatic misting systems, and special event sprays.
Call us at 301-926-3001 to get a quote and find out how you can enjoy the outdoors and protect your family & pets from mosquitoes, ticks and diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease on the home front!