BSA Environmental, Health and Safety Reminder on Mosquito-Borne Illnesses
Spring has sprung, and as millions within the Scouting family head outdoors, the risks of mosquito-borne disease increases. The Health and Safety team has received a number of inquiries because of the media attention to the Zika virus.
The risk: Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes that are or could be encountered in the United States include dengue, West Nile fever, St. Louis encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, and Eastern equine encephalitis. Others, such as those caused by the Chikungunya and Zika viruses, have not been shown to be acquired in the continental United States, but potentially could be. Specifically for the Zika virus, those who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant (including potential fathers) need to discuss those plans with their physician prior to travel.
Prevention: Generally, there are no immunizations available for these diseases; therefore, prevention of mosquito bites is the best way to assure protection and to prevent spread of disease. The CDC has produced a great summary on Mosquito Bite Prevention for the United States, which can be found at this link. An infographic for travel outside the continental United States is also available here.
The following resources were used in compiling this information:
We encourage you to stay up to date for changes as public health officials are monitoring these and other mosquito-borne illnesses on a daily basis and are continually making new and significant recommendations.