New Jersey health officials are currently pleading for residents to be on guard against mosquito bites, given the glut of mosquito-borne illnesses surfacing this summer.
Bites from the following viruses pose a significant health risk, and can occur 3-14 days following exposure:
- Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE)
EEE is dangerous, producing headache, stiff neck, high fever, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, and coma. It has a 50% + mortality rate, and many who recover retain permanent disabilities. Children under 15 are especially at risk.
- St. Louis encephalitis (SLE)
Slightly less severe than EEE with a 5-10% mortality rate. Symptoms range from mild fever and headache to those similar to EEE. It is commonly detected in urban and suburban settings.
- West Nile (WNV)
Similar to SLE, WNV produces fever, muscle weakness, vomiting, and dizziness. Ten-15% develop serious, possibly fatal neurological effects, however 4/5 people infected show no symptoms.
- La Crosse encephalitis (LACV)
Most severe in those 16 and under, initial symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. If severe, can lead to encephalitis, seizures, coma and paralysis. Rarely, long term disability or death can result.
Found for the first time in the continental U.S. last month, Chikungunya is not transmittable from person to person and is rarely fatal. Common symptoms include fever, joint and muscle pain, swelling, or rash, and headache.
- Dengue fever
Travelers may carry dengue, which is transmittable by mosquito bite. It can cause severe fever, joint, and muscle pain, and in extreme cases, fatal internal hemorrhaging.
Reduce your risk of mosquito bites.
- Use DEET-based insect repellants.
- Eliminate standing water.
- Avoid the outdoors at dawn and dusk.
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