As spring arrives, so does spring break for thousands of students, sons and daughters, and families all over Montgomery County and Howard County MD. A time of year that means a break from the books and “fun in the sun” among family and friends can take a debilitating turn for those planning to travel to the Caribbean this holiday.
According to several reports in the media in recent weeks there has been an unprecedented outbreak of the Chikungunya Virus affecting the Caribbean and other islands including Barbados, St Lucia and the Grenadines, where many travelers flock during spring break. The mosquito-borne disease, which causes severe and often disabling joint pain, leaves its victims bedridden for days. Some have reported feeling its effects for years, and has even resulted in death for those more vulnerable to the disease. Although trials of an anti-viral drug have had positive results, there is currently no vaccine for Chikengunya available; And worryingly, few US doctors are prepared to recognize its signs.
Chikengunya 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.
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 this season mosquito and pest free!