Tropical illnesses are spreading. Looking back, Ebola looks more like a warning than a single event, as now there are several diseases pushing their way across the globe against our best efforts.
Right now, Angola is dealing with a large yellow fever outbreak. While Hawaii has moved past their Dengue outbreak, they’re still taking precautions.
The glass half full is that with how severe Chik-V, Dengue, and Yellow Fever are, they are spreading slower (since you can’t travel with them). However, if you’re traveling this summer, make sure you read carefully about anywhere you visit.
Zika, however, is continuing to travel quickly. Mosquitoes are waking up in the US, and with Puerto Rico and other neighbors already facing massive Zika outbreaks, most experts are just counting the days until it spread to the Aedes aegypti mosquito in the US.
Since Zika symptoms are mild for most people, it’s easy to hop on a plane and allow the virus to come with you. The real danger presents when unborn babies, pregnant women, and anyone with a weakened immune system catches the virus, triggering more severe symptoms.
The same is true for Chik-V, Dengue, and Yellow Fever. A few people are better able to fight off the virus and spread it. Others have weakened immune system, and don’t just get a few days of intense illness, but develop severe symptoms similar to Ebola (all hemorrhagic fevers).
Why can’t we fight the mosquitoes? Because it’s not as simple as spraying—they live in our homes, even under our beds. They hang close to humans, and are incredibly hardy. (Air conditioning may actually help deter them, so that may be worth the cost this summer).
And when you go out, don’t forget the bug spray. In addition to tropical illnesses, there’s still West Nile (carried by a mosquito most active at dusk and dawn), ticks carrying Lyme Disease (spreading further around the US each year) and parasites.
But most of these diseases are underplayed, since there’s no vaccine or cure, and no one wants to cause a panic over them. All you can do is hunker down and support your immune system.
Be safe this summer! Share your plans in the comments: