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Departments » Health & Human Services-Public Health » Communicable Disease Control
Mosquito and Tick Diseases


Arboviral (short for arthropod-borne) diseases are caused by arboviruses that are spread to people by a bite of an infected arthropod, including mosquitoes and ticks.

Arboviral Diseases Webpage - Wisconsin Department of Health Services
National Center for Emerging an Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Anaplasmosis is a tick-borne disease primarily spread by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the eastern United States and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) in the western United States. The disease also occurs in temperate regions outside of the United States. Symptoms include headaches, fever, chills, and muscle aches. Some people do not become ill or have very mild symptoms. It is most severe among older adults and the immunocompromised Symptoms usually begin within 3 weeks (5-21 days) of the tick bite.Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is spread by the bite of infected (Aedes aegypti) mosquitoes. It cannot be spread from one person to another. Cases originating in the United States are rare occurring occasionally in southern Texas and most recently in the Florida Keys. Occasionally, residents from or visitors to countries where dengue fever occurs may arrive in this country and develop dengue fever.Ehrlichiosis
Ehrlichiosis is the disease used to describe several tick-borne diseases that infect humans and animals. The lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) is primarily responsible in the United States. Symptoms usually occur within 5-10 days after a tick bite. Initial symptoms usually are fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, joint pains, confusion, and occasionally a rash. It is suspected that many people infected with ehrlichiosis either do not become ill or have very mild symptoms. Most cases of ehrlichiosis are reported from the southern, eastern, and south-central United States, the geographic sites where the lone star tick can be found.Lyme Disease
Lyme disease may cause symptoms affecting the skin, nervous system, heart, and/or joints of an infected person.

Deer tick nymph

West Nile Virus
Mosquitoes spread West Nile virus (WNV) to birds most often, but can spread to humans and horses as well. (There is NO human to human spread.) 80% of those infected will have no symptoms, and about 20% will experience a relatively mild illness, with symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pains, a skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, and vomiting. Less than one percent (approximately one of every 150 people) infected with WNV become seriously ill.Zika Virus
Zika virus infection is a mosquito-borne arboviral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus mosquitoes. There have been outbreaks in many areas of Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. It has recently spread to Central and South America and the Caribbean. Locally mosquito-transmitted Zika virus has not been reported in the continental United States so far, and reported U.S. cases are associated with travel to a high-risk area.

About 80 percent of people who are infected with Zika virus may not have any symptoms. Illness may develop in 20 percent of infected people within 3 to 7 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Symptoms are generally mild and can last for several days to a week. Common symptoms of Zika virus infection include fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain or headache. Severe symptoms and fatalities are uncommon. There is no vaccine, prophylactic or specific medication treatment for Zika virus illness. Supportive care is recommended.

Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her fetus. There have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly in babies of mothers who had Zika virus while pregnant. Knowledge of the link between Zika and birth defects is evolving, but until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women. Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus is spreading. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
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