Findings of a new study have revealed another danger of getting bitten by mosquitoes. It turns out that these bugs that carry Zika virus and chikungunya virus can infect people with two viruses in a single bite.
Chikungunya And Zika Virus In One Bite
For the new study presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on Nov. 14, researchers found that they can infect mosquitoes with both Zika and chikungunya, which causes joint pain and fever.
When they looked at the amount of mosquito spit that would go into one bite, the researchers found that enough copies of the two viruses can simultaneously infect a human host.
"Their saliva is clearly testing positive for both, which could mean that people bitten by this type of mosquito could be infected by both viruses at once," said study researcher Claudia Rückert, from Colorado State University.
Avoiding Mosquito-Borne Diseases
Studies are currently being conducted to develop vaccines and treatment for chikungunya and Zika, but no vaccine and cure is currently commercially available for these mosquito-borne diseases. Experts recommend preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites that transmit these pathogens to humans.
Use of insect repellents is a popular means of avoiding mosquito bites. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent, saying that these are safe and effective for use by pregnant and lactating women as well as children when used as directed.
Children over the age of two months can use DEET-based repellents, but there are people who are concerned about the use of DEET.
Other Means Of Avoiding Mosquito Bites
For those who want to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes sans using insecticides, here are ways to avoid these bugs:
Use protective clothing. Wear long sleeved-shirts and long pants, socks and closed shoes to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes particularly in places infested by these pests. Avoid using clothing with bright colors and flowery prints since they seem to attract insects.
Avoid using scented hairsprays, soaps and perfumes since scent can draw mosquitoes. Ingredients in the sweat and other skin secretion can make a person more attractive to mosquitoes than another.
Keep mosquitoes away from home by keeping the windows and doors shut and using window and door screens. Items that hold water such as vases, buckets and rain barrels serve as good breeding grounds for mosquitoes, so make sure to empty them regularly and tightly cover the water storage containers.