Tropical diseases may soon be knocking at your door. Mosquitoes known to cause illnesses like yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue are now being found in the United States. Could they already be buzzing your backyard? California insect-control bureaus continually trap mosquitoes to see which species are inhabiting the State. What they’ve found recently is not reassuring. This summer, they’ve discovered the yellow fever mosquito, (Aedes aegypti), an insect that can spread a variety of nasty diseases. Tim Phillips of the Fresno Mosquito and Vector Control District told the Los Angeles Times: “It could change the way we live in California, if we don’t stop it. Imagine not feeling safe to sit out in your backyard in the afternoons.” Yellow fever is a viral disease whose symptoms include chills, fever, backaches, headaches and nausea. It can lead to jaundice and be fatal. Dengue attacks the muscles, causes a rash and can also kill you. Those suffering from chikungunya often develop high fevers, rashes and prolonged joint pain. “This affects all of California,” Leonard Irby, district manager of the Madera, Calif., abatement program told the Times. “It requires everyone’s help: Turn over plant saucers, wash out dog bowls, remember this mosquito can lay eggs even in the cracks of cement if water is left there for a couple of days.”
has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.