Not All Mosquitoes Are The Same

Different mosquitoes spread different viruses and bite at different times of the day

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A mosquito that can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever, and yellow fever viruses, and other diseases. The mosquito can be recognized by white markings on its legs and a marking in the form of a lyre on the upper surface of its thorax. This mosquito originated in Africa, but is now found in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world

Viruses Spread

Chikungunya  virus is a pathogen transmitted by mosquitoes, Chikungunya virus in Florida in July of 2014. As of July 22, 2014,  The name “Chikungunya” is attributed to the Kimakonde (a Mozambique dialect) word meaning “that which bends up”, which describes the primary symptom – excruciating joint pain. Although rarely fatal, the symptoms are debilitating and may persist for several weeks. There is no vaccine and primary treatment is limited to pain medication.

The mosquito species that transmit this disease are the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and the Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Genetically, it appears that viral strain currently spreading throughout the Americas is more easily transmitted by Ae. aegypti. Both species lay their eggs in containers such as cans, discarded tires and other items that hold water close to human habitation, but Ae. aegypti is more geographically confined to the southeastern United States. 

Zika Virus

Zika virus has emerged from its origins in central Africa and has rapidly spread to the South Pacific and western hemisphere. A Flavivirus related to West Nile, Yellow Fever, St Louis and the equine encephalitides, Zika was first discovered in macaque monkeys in 1947 in the Zika Forest region of Uganda. Since its discovery in 2014 off the coast of South America, Zika cases have been found in 35 countries in the Americas. 

As of 28 April, 2016, there have been 426 reported cases of Zika virus due to travel to endemic areas

 Zika  is usually transmitted through the bit of an infected Aedes agypti or Aedes albopictus mosquito. The illness is usually quite mild, with fever, rash, conjunctivitis and joint pain lasting a few days to several weeks or months. Often patients are not sick enough to seek medical treatment so a great many cases are not reported. 

Both Aedes agypti and Aedes albopictus will feed day or night when a potential host comes within their limited flight ranges..

When traveling to areas endemic for Zika in the Caribbean, it is also recommended to stay in hotels with air conditioning and window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If available, it is advised to sleep under mosquito bed nets.

Biting Habbits and How to protect your family


Avoid outbreaks. To the extent possible, travelers should avoid known foci of epidemic disease transmission. The CDC Travelers’ Health website provides updates on regional disease transmission patterns and outbreaks (

Be aware of peak exposure times and places. Exposure to arthropod bites may be reduced if travelers modify their patterns or locations of activity. Although mosquitoes may bite at any time of day, peak biting activity for vectors of some diseases (such as dengue and chikungunya) is during daylight hours. Vectors of other diseases (such as malaria) are most active in twilight periods (dawn and dusk) or in the evening after dark. Avoiding the outdoors or taking preventive actions (such as using repellent) during peak biting hours may reduce risk. Place also matters; ticks and chiggers are often found in grasses, woodlands, or other vegetated areas. Local health officials or guides may be able to point out areas with increased arthropod activity.

Wear appropriate clothing. Travelers can minimize areas of exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, boots, and hats. Tucking in shirts, tucking pants into socks, and wearing closed shoes instead of sandals may reduce risk. Repellents or insecticides, such as permethrin, can be applied to clothing and gear for added protection. (Additional information on clothing is below.)

Check for ticks. Travelers should inspect themselves and their clothing for ticks during outdoor activity and at the end of the day. Prompt removal of attached ticks can prevent some infections. Showering within 2 hours of being in a tick-infested area reduces the risk of some tick borne diseases.

Bed nets. When accommodations are not adequately screened or air conditioned, bed nets are essential in providing protection and reducing discomfort caused by biting insects. If bed nets do not reach the floor, they should be tucked under mattresses. Bed nets are most effective when they are treated with a pyrethroid insecticide. 


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