If there one insect I absolutely cannot stand, it is mosquitoes. For some reason, I find that they love me more then anyone else I know, so I tend to have a difficult time during the warmer months.
While I wouldn't have a problem with them if their bite just made my skin itch, but these pesky bugs are known to spread some serious diseases.
Most of us have heard about Zika, West Nile Virus and Malaria, but now health experts are warning people about another mosquito-borne virus that has recently been diagnosed in a human for the first time.
It all dates back to August 2016 when a 16-year-old boy from Florida was rushed to the hospital after developing a rash coupled with a mild fever. At the time, the Sunshine State was in the midst of the Zika outbreak, so although doctors ran tests, they were convinced the results would be positive for Zika.
A rare mosquito-borne virus
But when the tests came back negative for Zika and other mosquito-related infections, they were stunned. According to Dr. Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, "it literally took a year and a half of sort of dogged laboratory work to figure out what this virus was."
Finally, the scientists were able to properly diagnose the boy, whose symptoms were caused by a Keystone virus. The disease, which is named after the area in Florida where it was first discovered in 1964, has never been found in humans before the unnamed teen's case.
Experts have previously suspected that the virus has infected some people in Florida, but the cases occurred in 1972 and test results didn't reveal anything concrete.
It usually affects animals, especially squirrels, raccoons, and whiletail deer, that live along the coastal regions between Texas and Chesapeake Bay.
What you should know
Transmitted through bites from the Aedes Atlanticus mosquito, Keystone is part of the California-serogroup of viruses, whose symptoms can cause rashes, fever, inflammation of the brain, and encephalitis.
Scientists at the University of Florida did find that the virus was able to grow well in mouse brain cells, which means that there is high chance it could cause brain infections in humans too.
Thankfully, for the affected teen, he only had two of the symptoms and they were not nearly as severe as they could've been.
Health experts are still learning about Keystone, so Morris revealed in a statement that more research will have to be done in order to have more answers.
Although the virus has never previously been found in humans, the infection may actually be fairly common in North Florida,” he said. “It’s one of these instances where if you don’t know to look for something, you don’t find it.”
Unfortunately, this means there won't be a cure anytime soon. However, you can prevent it by avoiding mosquito bites, especially if you live in the areas where Aedes Atlanticus may be prevalent.
How can you protect yourself?
The Environmental Protection Agency advises that you use insect repellent if you're going to be spending time outdoors. They also suggest wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, staying near air-conditioned areas, installing screens on doors and windows at home, and getting rid of standing water.
Here are 5 Ways To Stop Mosquitoes From Feasting On You This Summer. You can also try growing some of these 15 Common Plants That Repel Mosquitoes And Smell Amazing.
For natural repellents you can use on your body and around your house, check these out: 12 Natural Ways To Effectively Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes.
Have you ever heard about Keystone virus? Let us know!