New Mosquito Borne Illness Concerns PMPs in Virginia

A painful, mosquito-borne viral illness has surfaced across the United States, carried by recent travelers to the Caribbean where the virus is raging.

Chikungunya, a viral infection transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, originated in southeast Africa and was first described in Tanzania in 1952. Subsequently, it has spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa and has become well

established in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and islands of the Indian and Pacific Ocean.  But now is in the Caribbean? Date it began there?


Health officials in North Carolina, Nebraska and Indiana this week reported the first confirmed chikungunya cases in those states, along with Tennessee, which has suspected cases. Is there a list of symptoms that people should be aware of?


Florida's 25 cases account for the majority reported in the United States, according to state health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The cases in the continental United States have not been transmitted by local mosquitoes, which would raise the threat.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency said this week the number of confirmed and suspected cases had risen to 135,651, up from just over 100,000 on June 2. The virus has been detected in 20 countries and territories, with the largest outbreak of suspected cases in the Dominican Republic.

Health officials in the Dominican Republic said they detected more than 77,000 suspected cases since the virus reached the country five and half months ago, including 20,000 new suspected cases in the last week alone, according to the Public Health Ministry.

Chikungunya,  West Nile virus and other public health threats have become an issue in Virginia and across the United States in recent years.  Citizens are asking what they can do to protect themselves, even in their own backyards.

To help address these concerns, the Virginia Pest Management Association (VPMA), along with its national partner, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has developed a website at to provide consumers with information about management and control of mosquito populations.  In addition, has a referral service of VPMA member companies for consumers needing a professional pest management firm.


Contact a local Pest Management Professional.  They can help homeowners reduce their exposure to mosquito bites by inspecting properties for breeding sites, treating to control mosquitoes in some cases or suggesting corrective actions, and educating homeowners and businesses about mosquitoes.


Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding areas by replacing all standing water at least once per week.  This includes birdbaths, ponds and unfiltered pools.

Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.

Introduce mosquito-eating fish such as gambusia, green sunfish, bluefish and minnows to standing water.

Seal and screen all windows, doors, and other openings.

Avoid going outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most active: during dusk or dawn.

Use insect repellent on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite.  The most effective repellents currently available contain the active ingredient DEET in concentrations up to about 35% (greater concentrations don't offer better protection).

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants preferably treated with repellant as well.