In conjunction with the return of mosquitoes to the Miami Valley comes the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
In the United States, dengue fever is making a comeback after being virtually eradicated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 68 cases of dengue fever have been documented this year, with 50 cases reported in Florida and one in Ohio.
Infected Aedes mosquitoes are rare in the Miami Valley, yet still spread the disease.
Chris Cook, assistant health commissioner for the Clark County Combined Health District, stated, “That mosquito is infected by a person infected with dengue fever. Therefore, if they acquire the virus from a person, they carry it in their bodies and can transmit it by biting another person.”
Dengue fever has no available treatment. The majority of infected individuals are asymptomatic. People with symptoms will experience flu-like symptoms, but severe cases are uncommon.
Regional Medical Director of Premier Health, Dr. Joseph Allen, remarked, “They just feel awful. Just about the same. I would say it is similar to the virus, but there are no gastrointestinal symptoms. You only experience fever, body pains, and significant fatigue.”
Five cases of the virus were verified in Ohio in 2022, none of which were contracted within the state.
Cook stated, “In 2022, there were approximately 1200 cases in the United States, of which 95% were travel-related, indicating that people contracted the disease in another country.”
At home, wearing repellent and removing stagnant water are effective methods for preventing mosquito bites. However, if you are traveling to a country where the virus is prevalent, you may require additional protection to sleep peacefully.
Cook advised, “If you can use screens or mosquito nets to sleep at night, you will be protected when mosquitoes are most active.”
Allen stated that the actual number of individuals with dengue fever is likely to be higher than the official number due to the cost and duration of testing.