Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and numerous other pests form a family of creatures known as arthropods. They are with us year-round, and make themselves known in the hot months of the year, mainly June, July and August, when families, and especially children, stand the risk of being bitten.
Microbiologist and science writer Jason Tetro had this to say in a recent Twitter chat “… no clinical is the norm for most ‘infections’. The immune system rids the invader before onset of symptoms.” Jason was referring to the way that the human immune system, and the associated genetics, are more than capable of handling the thousands of exposures to germs that each of us has in a day.
The Centers for Disease Control have estimated that for every case of WWND, between 150 and 250 cases of the less severe illness are contracted. That would mean between 84,000 and 140,000 Californians caught the mosquito-transmitted illness in 2014. Fortunately, 80 percent of those infected with the West Nile virus will experience extremely minor symptoms or none at all.
Public health officials had been expecting the arrival of chikungunya in the Western Hemisphere for some time so they were not surprised when cases began appearing in Dec. 2013 on the French side of the island of St. Martin. As of April 17, 2015, chikungunya had been confirmed with autochthonous (local) transmission in virtually every country and territory in North and South America. Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Cuba and Peru deny any locally contracted illnesses.