In planning for Zika, the CDC released a map showing the current range of Aedes aegypti, as well as a similar mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which might also be capable of carrying Zika.
A. aegypti also has a wide range in Asia and a broad possible range in Europe, and with the spread of Zika, everyone is watching it.
But it’s not just Zika. There are a lot of tropical diseases A. aegypti can carry, each with their own list of risks. The first line of defense is to avoid getting bit, the second is to rest and support your immune system, since it seems like each virus has a risk of severe side effects. Here’s a quick rundown of where and what’s going on:
Dengue Fever: There’s an outbreak in Hawaii right now with no end in sight, as well as outbreaks in tropical regions around the world including Argentina and an anticipated record breaking outbreak in Thailand.
The symptoms: a few days of intense illness. Some people go on to develop hemorrhagic fever, a much more severe form of the virus that is potentially deadly.
Yellow Fever: Similarly to Dengue, Yellow Fever for most people is a couple of days of intense pain and illness. Then, people either recover or develop a more serious form of the infection.
Chik-V: Probably the “safest” of the three, but also much closer to becoming a problem in the mainland US. Chik-V also causes pain and illness for a few days, but with a smaller risk of complications.
If you’re travelling, there’s a vaccine for Yellow Fever, but stockpiles are exhausted. To get to some parts of the world, the vaccine is mandatory. A Dengue vaccine is close, but testing is still far off.
Any of these viruses could theoretically spread anywhere the mosquito Aedes aegypti is, and potentially to the mosquito Aedes albopictus which has a much broader range!
The only good thing about how awful the symptoms are is that it slows down the spread of these three, since no one wants to jump on a plane with such painful, severe symptoms. By comparison, many people with Zika have only mild symptoms, if any. It’s really easy to hop on a plane and infect local mosquitoes.
-Keep mosquitoes out of your yard by keeping it clear of still water.
-Wear bug spray when you spend time outdoors.
-Do lots of research and preparation before traveling, even if you’re just headed to the American south.
-Keep your immune system strong—don’t miss out on sleep, exercise, good food, or a daily immune boost with colloidal silver.
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