Beyond the Data — Dengue and Chikungunya in Our Backyard: Preventing Aedes Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Beyond the Data — Dengue and Chikungunya in Our Backyard: Preventing Aedes Mosquito-Borne Diseases


Phoebe: Welcome to Beyond the
Data, I’m Dr. Phoebe Thorpe here to talk about Dengue
and Chikungunya, diseases that are
carried by mosquitoes and with me is Dr. Mark Fischer
from Fort Collins, Colorado. Thank you for joining us Mark. Mark: Thank you. Phoebe: The Aedes aegypti
mosquito we heard a lot about today. It has some different
behaviors, like it likes to rest on cloth and hide in closets. What are some of the other
unusual behaviors it has? Mark: Well, Aedes
aegypti mosquitoes and other similar mosquitoes
live in and around the household where people live and in water
sources around the household. They also tend to bite
more during the daytime, that’s their peak biting time
and that’s a little different than some of the other
mosquitoes that we’re used to having that transmit
other viruses here in the United States. Phoebe: Okay, and then, we have
had some recent cases of Dengue in our own backyard
in the United States. Can you tell me, what can
we do to protect ourselves and our children from
mosquito borne diseases? Mark: Yes, well Dengue is a
problem throughout tropical areas in the Americas
and Africa and Asia, but we have had some
recent cases in some parts of the United States,
Florida and Texas. People can take some precautions to prevent exposures
to mosquitoes. They can use mosquito repellents
on their skin or sometimes on clothes and materials
if they’re out camping. They can also dump water sources
that are around their houses like flower pots and
kiddie pools and in gutters. Those are the places where
mosquitos live and breed. And, when possible they can
also wear long pants and sleeves to protect themselves
from mosquito bites. Finally, when inside
they, if they have it, they can use air conditioning or
have intact screens on windows and doors to keep the
mosquitos outside. Phoebe: Okay, and
another disease we heard about today is Chikungunya. That seems to be a disease that
not as many people are familiar with because it’s more
recently come into the Americas. What can you tell us about
the spread of that disease and the disease itself? Mark: So Chikungunya is
another virus that’s spread by mosquitoes. It was first identified in
Africa in the 1950s and that’s where the name comes from
a local African language. It caused disease in Africa
and parts of Asia for a number of years and then in the early
2000s started spreading further to other parts of the world. It didn’t come to of
the Americas until 2013 when it was first
identified in the Caribbean and then had spread in
2014 throughout much of the Americas including a
few locally transmitted cases in Florida and cases
among travelers returning from affected areas in the
Caribbean and South America. And it causes fever and
severe joint pains in people who are infected by the virus. Phoebe: You know one of things
I didn’t hear you speak about, sorry to circle back, but one of the things I didn’t
hear you speak is bed nets, because I’m sure that a lot
of people hear mosquitoes and they think of prevention
as bed nets, a way to do that. Why doesn’t that work with
the Aedes aegypti mosquito? Mark: Well, bed nets are
a very effective means of preventing certain
mosquitoes, especially ones that bite at night like the
mosquitos that transmit malaria. There’re important ways of preventing these mosquito
borne diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya but they’re less
effective because again many of the exposures to these type of Aedes mosquitoes occurred
during the day when people are in or around the house. Phoebe: That makes sense. And, tell me what is CDC
doing to help educate people, especially healthcare
providers about Dengue? Mark: Ok, so, CDC
and our partners at WHO developed an online
training for clinical management for healthcare providers and
that’s available to people. It’s a free training
that they can get online. Phoebe: That’s up
at the CDC website. Mark: That’s right. Phoebe: Okay, all right. Thank you very much for
joining us Dr. Fischer. Mark: Thank you. Phoebe: And thank
you for joining us, and join us next time
for Beyond the Data.

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