Mosquitoes in Costa Rica

Mosquitoes in Costa Rica have been a topic of discussion for a very long time but as the covid-19 pandemic rose many people were confined into their homes for a long period of time and the matter of Mosquitoes was displaced. With the effects of the pandemic becoming a bit more suppressed and the restrictions being uplifted, people have started to plan to go on vacations with their family and friends, keeping in mind the idea of social distancing and also various precautionary measures

 

The scenic beauty of the Costa Rican tropical rainforests

A site of great tourist attraction but one of the concerns in Costa Rica is the mosquitoes. There have been various reports over the years of tourists getting sick due to various diseases that are spread by mosquitoes in Costa Rica; notably chikungunya, dengue, and the Zika virus. With already keeping the Covid-19 pandemic in mind, the mosquitoes are a serious threat to both the tourists and the locals. The diseases being spread by the mosquitoes in the country is a situation of big concern but very minimal precautionary measures have been taken.

Awareness must be spread equally among both locals and visiting tourists for them to take proper precautionary measures to prevent any disease caused by mosquitoes. Taking into consideration the diseases caused by the mosquitoes the Costa Rican Government has taken multiple steps to prevent or slow down the transmissions but still the number of illnesses caused by mosquitoes has been on the rise in the Guanacaste and Tamarindo region during the summer season of March to May. Although the number of cases does significantly decrease during the winter season in December to February. Both locals and tourists can raise their guards by having proper knowledge about the diseases and using repellents.

Here are some of the diseases caused by mosquitoes in Costa Rica along with their symptoms and methods of treatment. They are as follows:

 

Dengue Fever

A viral infection is caused by viruses of four different types and all of them belong to the family named Flaviviridae also known as the dengue fever. The transmission of the virus takes place when a female mosquito bites the host body. Transmission of this virus occurs only during the day. Mosquitoes thrive in transmitting the virus by stagnant water bodies and places without proper sanitization. Dengue virus is the most common form of mosquito-borne disease in Costa Rica. Although a huge population of people, both the locals and the tourists are affected in Costa Rica from dengue yearly the death count is significantly low.

Symptoms: Various symptoms can be visible within 2 to 7 days of transmission if a person is affected by dengue fever. They are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • A feeling of vomiting
  • Rashes all over the body
  • Pain in various joints
  • Pain in the eye
  • Bleeding can be a severe symptom of dengue

Treatment: The disease can be treated if proper care is taken during the time of the disease.

  • Proper rest and hydration are two of the best methods of fighting the disease.
  •  If the situation goes out of hand, taking proper medical help is needed.

 

Chikungunya

Caused by the CHIK virus which belongs to the family of Togaviridae known as Chikungunya. The transmission of the virus occurs due to the female mosquito biting during the daytime. These mosquitoes usually attack during the late afternoons and early in the morning and are usually found around suburban and urban dwellings. It is not as common as the dengue virus, with an approximate number of 250 cases occurring each year. 

Symptoms: The symptoms usually start showing after 3-7 days of transmission of the disease into the host body. Some of the symptoms are as follows:

  • Pain in the joints
  • Fever
  • Aching in the head
  • Swelling of the joints
  • Rashes all over the body
  • Muscular pain

Treatment: Simple steps are needed to follow to treat the disease and they are as follows:

  • Taking proper rest and staying hydrated.
  • Taking medicines such as paracetamol to reduce the pain and fever.
  • If the patient is already prescribed medication for any other medical condition, then it is recommended to take suggestions from a doctor before taking any medication for the disease.

 

Zika Virus

The viral infection that is caused by the Zika virus itself belongs to the family of Flaviviridae. The infection is usually caused by the female mosquitoes that bite during the daytime and usually are active during dusk to dawn. The virus has a probability of being transmitted through a pregnant mother to her child. Zika virus broke in the scene in Costa Rica in the year 2016 with multiple cases occurring all over the country but the spread declined soon after with a number of cases becoming significantly low day by day. The virus has the ability to transmit from an infected individual to another, through sexual contact (Matt, 2019).

Symptoms: Symptoms of this virus are usually not visible or mild. They usually last around a week. The most common symptoms of this virus are as follows:

  • Rashes all over the body
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Fever
  • Pain in the joints
  • Muscular pain
  • Headache

Treatment: No particular treatment of the Zika virus has been discovered. But the general methods can be used to overcome the disease.

  • Proper rest and hydration are the primary methods to fight the virus.
  • Taken proper medical help from doctors if the situation gets worse.

 

Precautionary Methods from Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Government officials have taken various precautionary methods to slow down the flow of the diseases transmitted by mosquitoes all over the country. As an individual traveling to Costa Rica or a local citizen, various methods can be used as a precaution against these mosquito-borne diseases Travel to Costa Rica in Dec- Mosquitoes &Zika Virus – Costa Rica Forum – Tripadvisor, 2021). They are as follows:

  • Any individual heading out of their houses should wear long sleeve pants and t-shirts to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Using mosquito repellents can be an effective method.
  • Using mosquito coils and nettings in rooms.
  • Sleeping in screened rooms.
  • Keeping the environment clean and cleaning areas having stagnant water.

 

Conclusion

Mosquitoes in Costa Rica have been a huge concern. The government, the locals, and the tourists visiting the country are all in fear of the diseases that are transmitted by the mosquitoes. The diseases caused by these mosquitoes are a major issue and the government is taking action to control them. People also have to be careful and follow various preventive and precautionary methods to save themselves from these diseases transmitted by the mosquitoes and enjoy the beauty of this scenic country to its utmost potential.Cos

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