Caribbean island health risks
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Types of Mosquitoes in the United States

Two hundred species of mosquites can be found in the United States and over 2500 species of mosquitoes world-wide. Authorities have found 36 species occurring in the U.S. that carry the West Nile Virus.

The most common carriers of West Nile are:

Culex pipiens (Northern house mosquito)
Culex restuans ,
Aedes albopictus,
Culex quinquefasciatus (Southern house mosquito),
and Aedes vexans.


West Nile Virus

The West Nile virus has spread appears throughout most of the United States. Only Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and the District of Columbia have not detected any cases in humans. In 2002 over 4000 people tested positive with the virus and 284 people died. In 2003 more than 8200 cases were reported with 182 deaths.

Scientists have discovered that in most areas of the United States less than 1 % of the mosquitoes are carriers and less than 1 % of those bitten develop serious illness from the West Nile virus.


Mosquitoes In The Florida Keys

More than 40 species of mosquitoes have been found in the Florida Keys. However, only a few of these cause problems for Keys' residents.

The majority of complaints registered by residents of the Keys is due to the black saltmarsh mosquito. This mosquito can be found between Texas and the New England States and can cause quite a bite day or night.

The southern house mosquito is also found in the Florida Keys as well as throughout the southern half of the United States. As its name implies this mosquito will enter people's homes and annoy at night with its buzzing sound and its bite. The southern house mosquito can transmit West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis.

In 2005 health authorities reported the first instance of of eastern equine encephalitis in the saltmarsh mosquitoe. Traps set on Little Pine Key and at Big Pine Key tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, the first time the Saltmarsh mosquitoe has been documented as a carrier — anywhere in the world.

Presently, health officials think this occurrance of eastern equine encephalitis in the saltmarsh mosquitoe is a rare case. "It's not a huge scare," an official of Mosquitoe Control is quoted in the news. "The [saltmarsh] mosquito does not seem to us to be a very good vector of the disease."

For more information on mosquitoes in the Florida Keys go to

Eastern equine encephalitis can cause illness in humans. Three cases occurred in Florida in 2005, none of them in the Keys. In the United States, 163 human cases have been confirmed scince 1964.


Mosquitos and West Nile

Below is a map prepared by the Center for Disease Control which shows the number of West Nile cases in humans for each state in 2003. Of the 93 cases identified in Florida last year one occurred in Monroe County (Florida Keys). Colorado had 1942 cases, Texas had 720, and South Dakata had 1039.





 Why use an insect repellent? Besides avoiding mosquito bites and no-see-ums some parts of the world have mosquito transmitted diseases: yellow fever, malaria, dengue fever.

If the mosquitoes are out you can avoid bites by covering arms and legs and the neck area.


The repellent, DEET is also used to protect against mosquito-borne illnesses, such West Nile virus. Authorities advise people not to go outside at dusk and dawn or go into infected areas, and to wear long sleeves and pants when possible.



Use bug repellent - In 2009 and 2010, cases of dengue fever were discovered in Key West. This represented the first outbreak in Florida since 1934. The number of cases do not represent an epidemic. The virus is not spread by food or personal contact, but by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Mosquito Comtrol District have initiated measures to ztop the outbreak and rid Key West of the virus. Inspectors have been dispatched to check houses which might have standing water and have mobilizing residents against the threat.

Dengue (pronounced DENG-gay) can cause fever, body aches, and headaches. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some people experience no symptoms and never become aware that they had the virus.


America's Caribbean Islands

In addition to providing information on health and travel to the Caribbean this site promotes travel to the Florida Keys.

What's is missing from the Caribbean map at the top of this page? It's the Florida Keys. The map below shows that the Florida Keys are geographically a part of the Caribbean.