Arboviral (short for arthropod-borne) infections are caused by many viruses transmitted by arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. These infections generally occur during warm weather months when mosquitoes are active.
Anyone can get an arboviral infection but young children and the elderly appear to be most susceptible.
Most arboviral infections are spread by infected mosquitoes. Fortunately, only a few types of mosquitoes are capable of transmitting the disease and only a small number of the mosquitoes are actually carrying the virus. Occasionally, migrating birds have the ability to carry viruses from one area of the country to another.
Symptoms of the various types of viral infections transmitted by mosquitoes are usually similar but differ in severity. Most infections do not result in any symptoms. Mild cases may occur with only a slight fever and/or headache. Severe infections are marked by a rapid onset, headache, high fever, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis or death.
Symptoms usually occur five to 15 days after exposure to infective mosquitoes.
Yes, infection with an arbovirus can provide immunity to that specific virus and perhaps to other related viruses.
The physician will usually attempt to relieve the symptoms of the illness, but there is no specific treatment available for arbovirus infections.
Insect repellents can be used when outdoors in mosquito-infested areas. Homes can be screened to prevent entry of mosquitoes. Communities or municipalities may establish a mosquito surveillance or control program to reduce mosquito populations by applying pesticides and draining swampy areas.