The Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedelbopictus) has been known in Israel since 2002. Females of this mosquito are carriers if various viruses, which may cause disease in humans. The most serious disease-inducing viruses that the tiger mosquito may transmit are dengue fever and chikungunya.
The dengue fever and the chikungunya are tropical diseases and to date there is no local transmission of these diseases in Israel. However, local transmissions of these diseases have in recent years been recorded in temperate areas as well (in Europe). Chikungunya has been reported in northern Italy, whereas contraction of dengue has been reported in south France and in Croatia. People who have spent time in endemic countries, have returned harboring the virus, and the local vector was the Asian Tiger mosquito. The risk of local transmission of these diseases exists in Israel as well. The vector, the Asian Tiger mosquito, can be found in many areas of the country, and travelers returning while harboring dengue fever or chikungunya viruses may infect the local mosquitos and trigger a local transmission circuit.
Disease types and the method of contracting them
Dengue fever is endemic in tropical and subtropical countries, especially in the far east and in south America. The disease has recently been reported to be spreading into new regions. The dengue fever virus has four strains, where contracting one strain does not immunize against contracting the other strains, and recurring infection is characterized by a more severe bout of the disease, as will be described later on. The chikungunya virus has a single strain. In the event of outbreaks, there is occasionally a double infection of both viruses.
Characteristics of the diseases
Both diseases are similar to the flu, characterized by fever, rash, headaches, eye aches, joint and muscle aches. Whereas the chikungunya virus mainly causes inflammation of the joints and other severe rheumatic pains.
Repeated infection with dengue induced by a different strain increases the risk of more severe sickness (DenguhocyndromSS) which induces shock as a result of a sharp drop in the volume of blood, and dengue along with hemorrhaging: (DenguaemorrhagieveHF).
Children are in the age group most susceptible to severe complications from dengue.
The chikungunia virus does not cause the complications characteristic to recurring dengue.
In most vases, the diseases subside of themselves, similarly to most flu-like viral infections. With recurring dengue, when hospitalization is necessary, supportive treatment is given, primarily fluids infusion. Chikungunia is treated mainly through anti-inflammation drugs.
These diseases do not yet have an immunization.
The best way to avoid catching these diseases in Israel is by exterminating the mosquitos and preventing mosquito bites.
Extermination is done under the supervision of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. However to prevent mosquito bites, it is necessary to treat the area near the home, including inside the home. Any source of stagnant water, even the smallest, must be drained. Flowepot underplates must be removed. Change water frequently: in plant rooting jars, in water plants (such as the lucky bamboo), and pets’ water dishes. In garden ponds, you must stock fish which eat mosquito eggs (for example, gambusia and rosy barb fish), to fix leaks, drain standing water, puddles or any other accumulating water, prevent neglect involving open containers, plastic bags or tires.
In addition, stock up on commercially available insect repellents. Among the common repellents, some are for spreading on the skin, others are for spraying, and some are mosquito-repellent ethereal oils, bed nets for babies, screen doors and windows. Sleeping with a fan helps repel mosquitos, long sleeves and long trousers – (for more details – Preventing mosquito bites)