What Minnesotans Should Know About Mosquito Borne Illnesses
Minnesota has more than our share of mosquitoes but how much of a factor are mosquito borne illnesses in our state? Dr. Thomas Math from CentraCare joined me on WJON to talk about this.
Dr. Math says the most common and serious mosquito borne illness is malaria. He says by far malaria is the most serious of all the mosquito borne illnesses but fortunately people don't get malaria in Minnesota. Travelers who travel to tropical areas can get the disease and bring it back to the state. He says these illnesses do not spread from person to person but from mosquito to person making people with malaria non contagious. Dr. Math says there have been cases of malaria originating in Texas recently but the cases in the United States usually come from people visiting tropical locations outside the country. He says malaria can be deadly and along with being the most common mosquito borne illness it is also the most deadly. Math explains young children and the elderly are most at risk for severe symptoms of malaria. Symptoms of malaria include fever, jaundice, brown urine, confusion and night sweats. Dr. Math suggests taking a pill to prevent malaria if you are going to a tropical location.
Dr. Math says the most common mosquito borne illness people can get in Minnesota is West Nile virus. He indicates that most people who contract this will have no symptoms but others will get a form of Meningitis or Encephalitis. Symptoms can include confusion that could resemble a stroke. Other rare mosquito borne illnesses that could happen in Minnesota include West Equine Encephalitis, and La Crosse encephalitis. Dr. Math says those are very rare
Other mosquito borne illnesses include Dengue fever, St. Louis Encephalitis and Rift Valley Fever. Dr. Math explains these are found in tropical areas and are spread in a similar way to malaria. These illnesses only appear in the United States if they are brought in by people visiting tropical areas.
If you'd like to learn more you can listen to my 4-part conversation with Dr. Thomas Math below.
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