Mosquito-Transmitted Epidemics: Dengue, Chikungunya and West Nile in the United States and Mexico
Matthews, Kirstin R.W.; Herricks, Jennifer R.
West Nile, dengue, and chikungunya are all caused by arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses), which are transmitted primarily via mosquitos. In total, they result in more than 100,000 annual infections in the United States and Mexico. This number is predicted to increase as the mosquito populations carrying arboviruses move northward due to climate change and general migration of the mosquitos and infected individuals. Unlike other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that are more common in rural areas, these arboviruses are often found in poor urban areas as well as suburbs and more affluent neighborhoods. Despite the increasing risks in the United States and Mexico, policymakers have made little effort to prevent future outbreaks. The US and Mexican governments should collaborate towards comprehensive vector control programs and awareness campaigns for these mosquito-transmitted diseases. Furthermore, additional research on preventative measures, including the development of vaccines, would dramatically limit the spread of these debilitating diseases.