Mosquitos Can Leave More Than Itchy Marks As Risk of Disease Increases in Late Summer

The National Pest Management Association Encourages Public to Take Precautions

FAIRFAX, Va. (August 7, 2014) – Mosquito bites and summer go hand in hand, however reports of a rise in chikungunya and West Nile virus (WNV) cases around the U.S. are a stark reminder that these insects pose serious health threats. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of August 5, there are a total of 484 chikungunya and 82 West Nile virus cases, including four recorded deaths, in the United States, not including territories. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds the public that as summer winds down, mosquitoes enter their most active period, increasing the need for precautions. 

"In late summer, preventing mosquito bites is paramount as there is no specific treatment for either West Nile virus or chikungunya. Although there have only been a few locally transmitted cases of chikungunya, the number of travelers being diagnosed upon returning home has spiked compared to years' past. It's best to never assume that the mosquito buzzing around you or your family is disease-free," said Dr. Jorge Parada, medical advisor to the NPMA.

Dr. Parada and the NPMA are advising Americans to become familiar with the symptoms of each disease and to seek prompt medical attention if becoming symptomatic.


  • According to the CDC, from 2006 - 2013, approximately 28 people per year tested positive for chikungunya- all resulting from travel outside the U.S.  The first known locally-transmitted cases were reported in Florida in July 2014. The disease is currently being reported in 37 states.
  • Symptoms start four to eight days after the bite and generally resolve after one week.
  • Patients experience severe joint pain (especially in hands and feet), fever, headaches, muscle pain, rash and joint swelling. 
  • The virus is typically not fatal, but can be extremely painful. 
  • There is no treatment or preventative vaccine.

West Nile Virus (WNV)

  • WNV first appeared in North America in 1999 and has spread throughout the U.S. ever since. It is found in nearly every state.
  • Symptoms begin anytime from three to 14 days after being bitten and may persist for several weeks.
  • Patients experience swollen glands, eye pain, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain - symptoms that are very similar to a summer flu.
  • Approximately 80 percent of human cases may not display any symptoms, and a person may be unaware they have contracted WNV. 
  • There is no treatment or vaccine, and in some cases WNV can be fatal.

According to the NPMA, practicing proper prevention measures can help protect against mosquitoes and vector-borne disease:

  • Always apply insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus or IR3535 when outdoors and use as directed on the product label. Apply repellant over top of sunscreen, and reapply every four to six hours.
  • Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, though it is important to note that mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya are active throughout the day.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors.
  • Eliminate areas of standing water around the home including clogged gutters, birdbaths, flower pots, tires and kiddie pools or untreated pools. Mosquitoes need only half an inch of water to breed.
  • Screen windows and doors, and patch torn screens.

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The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.