Mosquito-borne Diseases in Illinois

mosquito-borne diseasesMosquitoes are one of the main causes of death in the world. If that fact that hasn’t got you thinking seriously about mosquito control and prevention, then you are not aware of the disaster a mosquito can bring with its bite.

A huge mosquito problem appeared in the United States during the 1980s, when it was discovered they arrived from Japan by placing their eggs inside used tires. To raise the awareness and promote the importance of mosquito control during summer, here is a list of mosquito-borne diseases in Illinois:

LaCrosse Encephalitis (LACV)

This disease is primarily spread by the Tree-hole Mosquito, although an Asian Tiger Mosquito is also known as a carrier. This virus is an inflammation of the brain. It takes five to fifteen days after the bite occurs to notice the symptoms, which include nausea, vomiting, headache, seizure, coma, and brain damage in severe cases. A mosquito carrying LACV usually bites during the day, and its habitats are old tires, containers, and cavities of trees. The group that is highly susceptible to being struck by this virus are children under the age of 16. An average of 75 cases occur per one year with a 1% death rate. In Illinois, there are 5–15 cases of LAC per year.

West Nile Virus (WNV)

This disease is spread by the House Mosquito and Asian Tiger Mosquito. A House Mosquito’s habitats are polluted water, catch basins, tires, ditches, and marshes, while those of an Asian Tiger Mosquito are cavities of trees, tires, and other containers. Symptoms usually appear three to fifteen days after the bite occurs, and range from a slight fever, conjunctivitis, and swollen nodes to a severe headache, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, and coma. Since 2002, there have been 150 cases of this virus in the United States, including 18 death cases. West Nile virus can affect humans as well as animals. New cases are being discovered in Illinois and the death rate is the highest in this state, so the level of awareness should be set high.

Dengue Fever

Often the carrier of this disease is the Asian Tiger Mosquito. Symptoms usually begin to show three to fourteen days after the infection, and include a headache, fever, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. This virus has five different types and some can be life-threatening.

St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)

Primarily spread by a House Mosquito, SLE is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States. There have been over 4,000 reported cases, with an average of 193 deaths per year. Mosquitoes become infected while feeding on birds with St. Louis Encephalitis and transmit it to humans and animals during the feeding process. Signs of disease appear five to fifteen days after the bite, and symptoms include nausea, fever, dizziness, and malaise.

There aren’t any vaccinations for the mentioned mosquito-borne diseases, so it is up to you to take preventative mosquito control measures to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites throughout the summer.

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