Most people infected with arboviruses have no symptoms. When signs and symptoms occur, they usually start suddenly, with:
- Muscle aches
In rare cases, infection with arboviruses can lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Symptoms of encephalitis include:
- Stiff neck
Symptoms of hemorrhagic fever include signs of internal bleeding, which can lead to shock and sometimes death.
The time between exposure and symptoms can vary from 3 to 21 days.
Complications of encephalitis caused by arboviruses can be serious -- they can include coma, permanent brain damage, and death.
Prevention depends mainly on public health action to control mosquitoes and on individual action to avoid mosquito bites. Community mosquito-control programs can reduce mosquito populations by applying pesticides and draining standing water.
Individuals can avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by taking these steps:
- If possible, stay inside between dusk and dark. This is when most types of mosquitoes are most active in their search for food.
- When outside in mosquito-infested areas, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
- Spray exposed skin with an insect repellent.
- Put screens on windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes from entering.
- Remove old tires and other water-holding containers from around homes. These can provide breeding sites for mosquitoes.