New tropical virus invades USA

Chikungunya, the mosquito-borne virus that continues to spread throughout the Caribbean, has now arrived in the USA. Florida health officials have confirmed the first locally acquired cases of the painful disease. This means mosquitoes on the U.S. mainland have become infected with the disease and are now spreading it to people that they bite.

“It was only a matter of time before Chikungunya virus invaded the USA,” said Jonathan Cohen, mosquito control expert and president of Summit Responsible Solutions, which makes mosquito control products. “We have seen this progression before with the spread of West Nile virus in the USA starting in 1999.”

According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of Chikungunya virus are fever and severe joint pain. There is no vaccine to prevent the virus, so mosquito control is the key to preventing the spread of the disease. Chikungunya is carried by two mosquito species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, both of which are found in the U.S.

Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, so homeowners are advised to eliminate places where water can collect and stand in their yards and gardens. To prevent mosquitoes from breeding in ponds, bird baths and other places where water collects, use Mosquito Dunks®, which contain BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) — a bacterium that naturally kills mosquito larvae but is harmless to other living things. When placed in standing water, Mosquito Dunks® will kill mosquito larvae for up to 30 days. Mosquito Dunks® are available at garden centers, hardware stores and home centers. Visit for more information.