Thursday, April 6, 2017

FIGHTING MOSQUITOES: Preventing the Spread of Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika

Fighting the Aedes Mosquitoes
We Had Chikungunya in 2015

Now We're on a Mission to Fight Mosquitoes & Mosquito Bites!

     We've all heard about Zika. But what about Chikungunya and Dengue? All three of these viral infections are spread by mosquitoes in many parts of the world. The Aedes mosquitoes, when infected with Chikungunya or Dengue viruses can transmit these illnesses to people through mosquito bites. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), local transmissions of these viruses have been reported throughout the Americas, including Mexico. The CDC also reports that mosquitoes infected with Zika virus are in Mexico and spreading it to people. There are two ways to battle the spread of these viral illnesses. First, minimize the reproduction of mosquitoes. Secondly, prevent mosquito bites to minimize the transmission of the virus and spread of the infection.
Ready for our First Christmas, Our Exterior Wall was so Pretty!
     It happened the first week in December 2015, a week after we moved into our casita (little house) in Mexico. Jon spent an afternoon scrubbing the exterior of our garden wall so it would be nice and clean when he put up the Christmas lights. They looked so pretty and we were excited about spending our first Christmas in "paradise".
     The next morning Jon awoke stiff and sore, his joints aching, and he thought he had just overdone it with his wall-scrubbing the day before. The following day, he didn't get out of bed, the pain and fever were debilitating. I kept him supplied with ibuprofen, chicken broth, and purified drinking water. (We later learned that acetaminophen is the pain reliever of choice until Dengue fever can be ruled out, in order to avoid internal bleeding.) For the next week, he rarely got out of bed. From internet research, I determined that Jon probably had either Dengue Fever or Chikungunya, both transmitted by mosquitoes. Had he been bitten while working around the garden plants? He hadn't noticed any mosquitoes and didn't find any bites, but it was the logical conclusion that one of the tiny mosquitoes that carry Chikungunya had gotten him. Was our beautiful garden and the nearby jungle to blame for bringing mosquitoes to our new home?
Was Our Beautiful Garden to Blame?
     Getting up to go to the bathroom was a major ordeal because his ankles and the joints in his feet seemed to be affected the most. Standing up wasn't too bad, but walking was excruciatingly painful. We had learned that this is one common symptom of Chikungunya, so we self-diagnosed the illness. The inflammation and stiffness (arthritis) in the feet was so painful that he walked with a flat-footed shuffle, as though the ankles and feet couldn't flex. We named this duck-like way of walking the "Chikungunya Shuffle", and tried to laugh about it to lighten our moods.
     I wasn't laughing any longer when I developed the same symptoms a week later. The joint pain was right up there with the level of a childbirth contraction, except it didn't let up, even while taking 800mg of ibuprofen every 8 hours. The itchy rash on my torso was just an annoyance compared to the joint pain. Thank goodness, Jon had mostly recovered and could now take care of me.
Was the Jungle Next to Our Yard Bringing Mosquitoes?
     I was probably bitten by a mosquito that had first bitten Jon, thereby transferring the virus to me. The typical incubation period for Chikungunya is... To Read More, click on this link:
Retirement Before the Age of 59: FIGHTING MOSQUITOES: Preventing the Spread of Deng...:
     Read more about our adventures and retirement in Mexico in my eBook available at Amazon by clicking HERE
"Retirement Before the Age of 59" eBook

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