Residents of the Las Vegas Valley are lucky – we usually do not have a lot of mosquitoes.  Then monsoon season comes and the valley sees flash flooding and standing water which attracts mosquitoes – and they can carry diseases – Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.

These three diseases did not originally exist in the Western Hemisphere however they were, well established across central Africa, southern Asia and Southeast Asia.  Recently all three mosquito-borne diseases have recently arrived in the United States and continue to spread into our population, posing a threat to our health.

The following is some information on each disease you should be aware of:

Dengue fever, also called “Breakbone Fever,” was virtually nonexistent prior to 1981. Most people diagnosed with dengue fever in the United States contract the disease while traveling abroad, but there have also been a small amount of locally transmitted cases in Florida, Texas and Hawaii. Luckily, none have resulted in a large or sustained outbreak. The disease started spreading throughout the Caribbean, Central America and most of South America by the year 2000.  Dengue fever is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever, rash, headache and pain behind the eyes, and muscle, joint and bone pain. The most severe form of the disease is called dengue hemorrhagic fever, which causes signs and symptoms of dengue fever, plus severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, difficulty breathing, overt bleeding and bruising, shock and sometimes death.

Chikungunya is as exotic as its name, which in the Makonde language of southeastern Africa means “that which bends up” or “to be contorted”, Chikungunya is – quite literally – an infection that will bend you out of shape! The Western Hemisphere did not have one case of this disease until December 2013 when it exploded across the Caribbean and into Central America and Northern South America in less than a year. To put this in perspective, cases in these areas went from less than 100 at the end of 2013 to more than 600,000 cases by August of 2014.

Signs and symptoms of Chikungunya infection include an abrupt onset of fever with joint pain and swelling. The joint pain is often very debilitating (bending you out of shape as you hobble along). Other common findings include rash, headache, nausea and fatigue. Most symptoms only last for a few days, but joint pain and swelling may last weeks or maybe months.

Zika was first discovered in Uganda in 1947, but the first human case wasn’t detected until 1952. Since then, Zika has taken off with a vengeance across Brazil and northern South America, and spread across Latin America as far north as Mexico, as well as into the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and into Florida.

Four out of five people infected with Zika show no symptoms and do not even realize they were infected. Those who do develop symptoms often experience low fever, rash, conjunctivitis and joint pain. However, Zika has infamously become the focus of concern because the virus can also cause neurologic damage to the fetus of a pregnant woman. The disease has been linked to microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small heads and incomplete brain development. It’s likely associated with spontaneous abortions and fetal death, as well.

Recommended preventive measures include applying effective mosquito repellants on exposed skin or clothing when spending time outdoors. Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts to limit exposure to mosquitoes. Also combat mosquito nesting and breeding sites by eliminating standing water in or around the home, and keep windows and doors properly screened, and repair even the smallest tear or hole.

GLOBAL PEST SERVICES in Las Vegas is a licensed pest control company that is qualified to handle all your pest elimination needs.  Call our office at 702-657-0091 or go to our web site- to speak with us for all your pest control needs.  Get a quote now!

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