Longer summers bring more disease-carrying mosquitos - KCTV5

Longer summers bring more blood-sucking, disease-carrying mosquitos

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Longer summers mean longer breeding seasons for blood-sucking, disease-carrying mosquitos.

The insects carry West Nile and malaria as well as a newer disease called Chikangunya. The cases of this are surging in the Caribbean regions, and it's spreading north.

Dr. Lee Norman, chief medical officer for the University of Kansas Hospital, said the disease causes flu-like symptoms paired with chronic arthritis-type pain.

"It's an East African word that relates to the contorted posture that the people have because they're in such pain with this acute illness," Norman said.

Chikangunya was first reported in Africa in the 1950s.

As area travelers head out overseas for their summer vacations, they are at risk to bring back a souvenir that they don't want. About 65,000 people in the Caribbean have been infected.

There have been four cases identified in Florida. The victims had been on cruises when they are apparently bit by mosquitoes and came down with Chikangunya.

Area health officials are on alert for cases here from Kansas City area residents returning home from vacations.

Using mosquito repellant, avoiding standing water and keeping a fan going or a breeze around are the best ways to avoid mosquito bites. A mosquito can't fly in winds of 5 mph or more.

Overland Park resident Kathy Laverick said when she is riding her bike that the mosquitos leave them alone. But while out enjoying the evening on her back porch with family members that she has to spray everything down.

"They are nasty blood-sucking insects," Shea Laverick said.

When you are outside and can be bitten, you should wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants. You should consider spraying repellant on your clothing as well as skin.

Mosquitos are attracted to various scents so avoid perfumes and colognes.

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