Malaria is the most well-known disease transmitted by mosquitos, but it is far from the only one. In truth, the greater hazard to Caribbean visitors is dengue fever, a mosquito-borne sickness that has claimed millions of people in the Caribbean and the Americas in recent years. Dengue symptoms include high fever, pain behind the eyes, and muscle aches. Severe cases can lead to death.
In addition to malaria and dengue, Zika virus also poses a risk to travelers to the Caribbean. First discovered in 1947 in rhesus monkeys in Uganda, this virus is known to spread through the saliva of infected mosquitoes. Although the symptoms are similar to those of dengue, Zika cannot be cured with medication and there are no vaccines available yet.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito carries both Zika and dengue viruses as well as many other pathogens. Because this insect prefers to bite during night time, when people are asleep, they usually do not know they have been bitten. The Aedes albopictus mosquito can also transmit pathogens including Zika and dengue viruses. However many cases of infection result from contact with an animal rather than a human being, so this species is not considered dangerous for tourists.
In conclusion, traveling to countries where malaria is present requires careful consideration of the risks vs benefits associated with antimalarial drugs.
There are hundreds of mosquito species in the globe, with eight of them being common in the Cayman Islands. Malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika, and canine heartworm are just a few of the illnesses and viruses that mosquitos may transmit. Human mosquito-borne infections are uncommon in the Cayman Islands. However, because of their risk to travelers and tourists, precautions are taken to prevent the spread of these diseases.
While most people will experience some level of discomfort from the bites of a single mosquito, those who are allergic to insect stings or suffer from other medical conditions may need more extensive treatment. Mosquitoes also carry several diseases that can be transmitted to humans, including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and filariasis. These diseases are not present in the Cayman Islands but they are found worldwide.
Because of the risk of infection from mosquito bites, it is important to take precautionary measures to protect yourself against these insects. The best defense against mosquitoes is to avoid being bitten in the first place by using protective clothing, such as long sleeves and pants, and applying insect repellent when you go outdoors. If you do get bitten, follow up with additional applications of repellent every two hours for maximum protection.
In addition to wearing protective clothing and applying insect repellent, there are several other methods used to prevent mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes throughout the Caribbean, particularly Grenada, can transmit dengue fever, a febrile sickness (a medical word meaning fever). Aedes aegypti mosquitos bite throughout the day. "Dengue is the primary cause of fever-related infections among visitors returning from the Caribbean," according to the CDC. Other than dengue, mosquitoes on Grenada don't carry any other harmful diseases.
On the island they call this disease "bone chilli". It can be very serious or not at all, but it depends on many factors such as age and health of the person infected. There are special clinics where these cases can be treated and monitored. Unfortunately, most patients with bone chilli have no access to this kind of care.
In addition to being a carrier of dengue, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes spread two other important viruses in the Caribbean: Chikungunya and Zika. Chikungunya has been reported in travelers from affected areas. Symptoms include high fever, severe joint pain, and muscle pain. This virus usually doesn't result in death but it can lead to long-term problems with joints.
Zika virus was first discovered in Africa but has now been found in many countries including Grenada. It is also known as a "zoonosis" which means it is transmitted from animals to people.
The Caribbean is being warned to limit the spread of dengue fever, as 2.7 million cases, many of whom are children, have been registered in the Caribbean, Latin America, and North America so far in 2020. Dengue is a viral infection that can be caused by one of four different viruses (dengue 1-4). In some cases, people get sick with fever, muscle pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some patients may also experience rash, aches, pains, or confusion. There is no specific treatment for dengue other than treating the symptoms themselves.
Dengue has become more common in recent years due to increased travel between countries, so if you're visiting the Caribbean please do your part to prevent its spread by avoiding mosquito bites at all times during the day when mosquitoes are most likely to bite, including dawn and dusk. If you do get bitten then apply an insect repellent containing DEET, but avoid applying it to infants under two months old because of possible side effects. See our article on how to choose an insect repellent that's right for you.
There's no evidence that dengue is present in the Caribbean, but because of its spread across Latin America and North America, health officials want to be prepared in case it decides to make its way here.
Mosquitoes are also involved in the transmission of dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a more deadly kind that typically affects youngsters but is exceedingly infrequent among international travelers to Vietnam. Japanese encephalitis is a serious brain infection that can lead to long-term problems with vision, cognition, and movement.
The best methods for avoiding mosquito bites include using insecticide treated clothing and bed nets, installing screens on windows and doors, and cleaning up debris around the house that may be attractive to mosquitoes.
In addition to these methods, there are some medications available to help prevent malaria. However, these medications should not be taken by people already doing business in Asia because they could have an adverse effect on their trips.
Finally, there are some practices that may prevent mosquito bites altogether. These include wearing protective clothing when outdoors during peak biting times, using insect repellent, and staying inside at night.
These measures will help protect you from becoming infected with diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.