SOURCE: MosquitoNix

MosquitoNix

April 21, 2015 06:00 ET

Ten Things to Know About the Chikungunya Virus

Virus Gaining Traction in the United States

CARROLLTON, TX--(Marketwired - Apr 21, 2015) -  MosquitoNix®, the nation's leader in mosquito control and mosquito misting systems, is alerting the U.S. population about Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted to humans by mosquitos. Historically, Chikungunya threatened areas in Africa and Asia. But in 2014, the virus arrived in the Americas for the first time. It swept the Caribbean and surrounding nations and infected hundreds of thousands of locals and more than a thousand of American tourists. In December 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that 11 cases of Chikungunya in Florida were locally transmitted. The CDC also reported that 1,110 Americans were infected with the virus when they traveled to areas where Chikungunya is more common.

Following are ten things to know about the Chikungunya virus so that people can protect themselves and stop the virus from spreading.

1. Chikungunya means "to become contorted"
The name 'Chikungunya,' (pronunciation: \chik-en-gun-ye) derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning, "to become contorted" and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain (anthralgia). SOURCE: World Health Organization (WHO).

2. Chikungunya symptoms last for weeks, months or sometimes years
Chikungunya symptoms include fever, muscle aches, flu-like symptoms, joint pain and rash. The incubation period for Chikungunya is three to seven days.

3. Chikungunya has nothing to do with chickens
Chikungunya is a virus that spreads through mosquito bites by the Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti species. These species are aggressive day biters and are prevalent in the Northeast, South, and some areas on the West coast of the United States.

4. Chikungunya spreads fast and transmits from people to mosquitos and vice versa
An infected American traveler who has returned home can transmit the virus to a local mosquito. In turn, the local mosquito transmits the virus to more people, increasing the threat of Chikungunya in the United States. The New York Times reported that at least 800,000 people in the Caribbean and surrounding tourist destinations were infected with Chikungunya in 2014.

5. The same mosquitos that transmit Chikungunya also transmit Dengue Fever
Dengue Fever is most prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas, like Brazil, which has been battling a Dengue Fever endemic for years. The CDC has seen an increase in a number of locally transmitted Dengue Fever cases in the United States. Symptoms of Dengue Fever are similar to symptoms of Chikungunya.

6. There is no cure, treatment or vaccine against Chikungunya
The only way to prevent Chikungunya is to not get bitten by mosquitos.

7. Chikungunya outbreaks are a result of weak mosquito control
An insect repellant is only a temporary solution to a determined mosquito.

8. Aerial spraying by local governments isn't effective
Aerial spraying is a short-term response to a long-term problem. While aerial spraying will lower the number of mosquitoes for a week or so, it won't disrupt the breeding cycle of the insects. And while some municipalities will conduct aerial larviciding over marshes and swamps, it usually isn't done in residential neighborhoods where the mosquitos that swarm your yards live.

9. Start mosquito control in early spring when mosquitos come out to hatch their eggs
Killing mosquitos before the season starts is effective because it prevents mosquitos to breed. Male mosquitos die in the fall, when temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Female mosquitos, however, hibernate during the winter. They come out of hiding when temperatures reach 50 degrees again. That's when they start looking for human blood to produce eggs.

10. Exercise mosquito "hygiene" to lower your chances to get bitten

  • Use insect repellents when you go outdoors.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants from dusk through dawn.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors. If you have it, use your air conditioner.
  • Around your home, empty standing water from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths.

"We at MosquitoNix want to help prevent what happened last year, when more than a thousand Americans got sick from Chikungunya after traveling to areas where Chikungunya is more common. Chikungunya rapidly spreads because it's transmitted from humans to mosquitos and vice versa, which increases the threat of an outbreak in the United States. We want to urge people to prevent mosquito bites while traveling internationally and start their mosquito control early back home. The only thing that stops the threat of a Chikungunya outbreak, or other mosquito-borne illnesses are eliminating mosquitos altogether," said Dan O'Neal, Chairman & CEO of FEMO Group Holdings.

ABOUT MOSQUITONIX®
MosquitoNix®, a division of FEMO Group Franchise System, is the nation's leader in mosquito misting systems, servicing tens of thousands of customers in more than 400 U.S. cities and nine countries. MosquitoNix offers permanently installed misting systems, as well as a temporary solution called QuickNix™ 3 Step-Treatment, which includes fogging, granules and larvicide (Bt-israelensis (Bt-i)) applications to eliminate flying or biting insects such as mosquitoes, no-see-ums, flies, fleas, and ticks. MosquitoNix empowers customers to protect their families against mosquitoes and enjoy their outdoor lifestyles. An industry expert, MosquitoNix focuses on customer service and manufactures its own systems. Learn more about MosquitoNix at www.MosquitoNix.com.

ABOUT FEMO GROUP HOLDINGS LP
FEMO Group Holdings is the parent company for MosquitoNix, FEMO Group Franchise Systems, PestFix® and FEMO Products.

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    Renate Geerlings
    ReRe communications
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    202.255.2744