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UVA Health warns of mosquito borne illnesses during travel

Prepare for a busy summer mosquito season in 2022.
Prepare for a busy summer mosquito season in 2022.(ky3)
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 1:32 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As Americans travel internationally over the summer they can sometimes bring home an unwanted souvenir. UVA Health says the way most Virginians get sick with mosquito borne diseases is from traveling outside the United States.

“Most mosquito borne infections are going to be acquired through travel, of the cases that we see in Virginia every year is a vast majority are people who have unfortunately gotten dengue, gay, or malaria through travel to areas outside of the U.S.,” Doctor Bill Petri with UVA Health said.

UVA Health’s Dr. Costi Sifri says it’s too early to predict what we might see in the U.S. this summer.

“We have seen significant waves of infection during previous summers, as more people spend time outdoors, which is from a COVID standpoint, a very good idea, but it does potentially put you at risk if you are interacting and getting exposed to different types of vectors,” Dr. Sifri said.

There are preventative measures other than mosquito repellent.

“Doing things in your yard to prevent habitats where mosquitoes can easily grow, and so that includes getting rid of areas of standing water pools and puddles,” Dr. Sifri said.

The CDC has a website to check the rates of mosquito borne infections in the place you are traveling to.

“If you travel internationally, you get a fever and flu like symptoms - it might not be the flu, might be malaria, it might be dengue, and so just let your doctor know, your healthcare provider know when you come back,” Dr. Petri said.

Dr. Petri says infected or not, it’s better to not get bitten.

“It behooves us all to try to avoid mosquitos as much as we can, just because of this rare rare case, besides the fact that it’s really annoying to get bitten by a mosquito,” Dr. Petri said.

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