Arboviruses are arthropod-borne viruses, or viruses transmitted to people by arthropods such as mosquitoes. Arboviruses are generally rare in humans, but they are more likely to appear between the months of June and September, when biting insects are especially active. More and more people become infected with arboviruses as they move into undeveloped areas, making arboviruses a type of emerging infectious disease. Many arboviruses cause no symptoms at all, and others only cause very mild symptoms. Other arboviruses can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal. Three main types of dangerous arthropod-borne viruses are West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, and La Crosse encephalitis.
Most people with these three types of arboviruses have no symptoms at all, but some people experience a very sudden appearance of symptoms. People who do exhibit symptoms of West Nile virus might experience either mild symptoms - such as a fever, a rash, and nausea - or more severe symptoms - such as extremely high fever, paralysis, and neurological damage. People who exhibit symptoms of eastern equine encephalitis may originally experience a headache, fever, chills, and vomiting, which may eventually give way to disorientation, seizures, a coma, and potential brain damage or death. La Crosse encephalitis also causes some brain-related symptoms. (The word "encephalitis" means inflammation of the brain.) Children under the age of eighteen are most likely to suffer severely from this disease, exhibiting symptoms such as seizures, coma, and paralysis.
The best way to avoid contracting arboviruses is to take precautions against mosquito bites, such as covering up as much skin as possible (e.g., wearing long sleeves and pants, tucking socks into pants), using insect repellant, keeping screens on windows and doors secure, and eliminating any standing water near your home that might attract mosquitoes. You may also want to stay inside between dusk and nightfall, when mosquitoes are most common.