Health Expert: Worry more about West Nile than Zika Virus

Mosquitos transmit diseases that directly infect humans

Photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Many people in the U.S. and abroad are worried about contracting the mosquito born virus Zika, but that isn’t the only illness that mosquitoes can carry.

According to health experts, mosquitoes transmit diseases that directly infect humans, but they also carry parasites that dogs and horses are very susceptible to.

State Public Health Veterinarian Catherine Brown told 22News that while Zika is a source of concern, there are other, more prevalent diseases to worry about in western Massachusetts.

“Zika Virus is likely to remain an imported disease where people who are travelling are at risk, what we really need to focus on here in Massachusetts, with our local health partners, is the transmission of West Nile Virus and EEE,” said Brown.

Symptoms of both West Nile Virus and EEE include headaches, fevers and chills. Experts say personal protection remains the foundation for preventing mosquito borne illnesses. Use a repellent, wear light colored clothing, and when possible, avoid outdoor exposure between dusk and dawn.

Health officials say dry weather and higher temperatures actually support faster breeding of mosquitoes, so it’s especially important to take extra precautions during the summer months.

Click Here for more tips on how to protect yourself from mosquito borne illnesses.

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