Mosquito Bites Really Make Us Sick.

A child scratches his arm while playing in his backyard in Virginia.

Being bitten by mosquitoes is no fun, leaving you itchy and irritated for days, but mosquitoes and other biting insects can be more than a nuisance – they can be deadly. Disease cases from infected mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have tripled in the last 13 years, totaling more than 640,000 cases since 2004.  Mosquito Joe wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors regardless of where they live or travel, so read up on these illnesses, where they are prevalent, and ways you can protect yourself, your family and pets against them.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEEV)

Viruses looked at under a microscope

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV) is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause severe symptoms such as brain infections. In the United States, few human cases are reported each year. Since 2009, only 1 case has been reported in Virginia and in 2019 it was detected in United States again. Areas where cases are common include the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, as well as those around the Great Lakes Region. Although this disease is rare, it is important to recognize the symptoms and take preventative measure against this mosquito-bone illness.


Symptoms & Treatment
Symptoms tend to develop 4 – 10 days after an infected mosquito bites and can range from mild to stronger symptoms.

The symptoms include:

Mosquito disease transmission graphic

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Discomfort
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea 
  • Seizures 

Although, anyone can contract this disease, those under the age of 15 and over 50 are at a higher risk of a severe case of EEEV. If you or anyone you know starts to show any of the above symptoms it is important to contact your healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment.

Zika Virus

The Zika virus is primarily spread by infected Aedes mosquitoes. However, this virus can also be transmitted from human to human through sexual contact or from mother to unborn baby. Cases of Zika have been reported in the United States since 2015. In 2016 and 2017 the United States had a Zika outbreak which lead to over 5,000 cases being reported in the two year time span. According to the CDC, Virginia reported cases during those two years totaled to a little over 100 cases.

Symptoms & Treatment
The virus is usually very mild with only 1 in 5 people exhibiting any symptoms. Those who have contracted Zika virus are unlikely to need hospitalization; severe illness or death is uncommon.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint Pain
  • Conjunctivitis

West Nile Virus (WNV)

West Nile is a common mosquito-borne virus spread in North America and has been reported in all continental United States. In 2017, 2,002 cases were reported and 67% of those were classified as neuroinvasive diseases such as meningitis or encephalitis.

Symptoms & Treatment
Symptoms of West Nile Virus are relatively uncommon with 8 out of 10 people not developing them.

Those who do develop symptoms experience:

  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Joint pains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes

While anyone of any age can contract this severe illness, those over the age of 60 and those with existing health conditions are most at risk. Recovery time for WNV ranges from weeks to months and currently there is no vaccine for West Nile Virus.


Pronounced chik-en-gun-ye, this virus is transmitted via infected mosquitoes. In 2013, chikungunya was reported for the first time in the Americans in the Caribbean. Those traveling to the Caribbean should take precautions, as they are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. As of the beginning of November 2019, six cases have been reported in Virginia – all of which were determined travel associated cases.

Symptoms & Treatment
Symptoms of chikungunya tend to develop three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Joint pain

However, the following symptoms have also been reported:

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Rashes

While chikungunya typically isn’t fatal, it can be debilitating.

A cartoon of a person with a thermometer in his mouth

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, usually the Aedes aegypti. More than one-third of the world’s population is at risk to contract the dengue virus. Dengue is most prevalent in tropic and subtropic areas, therefore international travelers are most at risk.


Symptoms & Treatment
Symptoms of dengue include:

  • Combination of high fever and severe headache
  • Eye pain
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Rash
  • Mild bleeding manifestation

There is no specific medication or treatment for dengue, those infected should seek medical attention, take pain relievers and drink plenty of fluids.

Prevention and Control

There are various precautions you can take to further protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne diseases.

Mosquito Joe yard preparation treatment graphic

Take precautions when traveling internationally:

  • Stay in locations with air conditioning or screened windows
  • Use a bed net when sleeping
  • Check the CDC website for warnings and health notices

Prevent mosquito bites during travel and at home:

  • Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts
  • Wear repellent with DEET
  • Cover baby strollers and carriers with mosquito netting
  • Eliminate standing water from your property to eliminate mosquito breeding sites
  • Keep grass, shrubs, and bushes neatly trimmed
  • Mosquito barrier control treatments like ones provided by Mosquito Joe

Give us a call!

Disclaimer: Mosquito Joe does not make any claims that using our products or services will prevent you or anyone you know from contracting a vector-borne illness. However, taking measures to reduce the mosquito and tick populations around your home is important to consider if you are in a highly affected region. Please leverage the resources above for more information and feel free to contact your local Mosquito Joe to learn more about how you can eliminate these pests around your yard.