Learn About Vector-Borne Diseases and How to Avoid Them

Learn About Vector-Borne Diseases and How to Avoid Them

We are all-too-familiar with the temporary (but annoying) symptoms of bug bites, especially during the summer. Mosquitoes and other common insects notorious for hindering outdoor fun are causing immense concern due to the spread of news-making vector-borne diseases, such as the Zika virus. Vector-borne diseases are those that are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. Below are just a few of the most common insects, the vector-borne diseases they carry and how you can prevent getting bitten by them.


Mosquitoes are known for carrying a laundry list of diseases, the most well-known being the West Nile and Zika viruses. Since 1999, reports indicate the West Nile virus has infected nearly 42,000 people in the United States alone. Symptoms have included fever, joint pains, rashes and vomiting.  In rare and extreme cases, neurological illness has occurred as well.

The Zika virus, originally linked exclusively to travel-related cases, has recently-confirmed domestic transmissions of the disease within Miami-Dade County, Florida. Only one-in-five cases of the Zika virus display symptoms, which include fever, rash, joint pain and reddening of the eyes. Symptoms have not been considered severe, but the virus has been known to cause birth defects if transmitted to pregnant women.

Mosquitoes tend to lay their eggs in areas with standing water present. Ensure your property is free of standing water by emptying or throwing out items that hold water from precipitation. Installing screens on your home’s entryways and covering exposed skin are also effective ways to prevent mosquito bites.


Ticks live in moist and humid environments and can spread another well-known vector-borne illness, Lyme disease. Mainly found east of the Rocky Mountains, ticks reside in wooded or grassy areas. If you’re a person who enjoys camping, hiking or spending a considerable amount of time in wooded or grassy areas, you are at risk for being bitten by an infected tick. Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever and chills, fatigue, joint pain and rash.

To prevent a tick bite and reduce your risk of contracting Lyme disease, be sure to dress appropriately for the outdoors. Long pants and sleeves, tucked-in shirts and closed-toe shoes are effective strategies. If you’re hiking or in grassy, wooded areas, stay out of tall brush and walk in the middle of defined trails. Permethrin-treated clothing and gear can repel ticks; however, be sure not to get this chemical on your skin and only apply to the outside layers of clothing.

The Importance of DEET

The most effective way to prevent insect bites and avoid acquisition and transmission of their diseases is with insect repellent, more specifically one that contains the active ingredient DEET. DEET repels a wide range of insects and arachnids and can protect you from receiving and transmitting the above vector-borne diseases. Net effect contains 20% of the active ingredient DEET, preventing mosquitoes and other insects or arachnids from sensing your odor and thus, preventing them from coming into contact with your skin. Click here to purchase your bottle of Net effect today, and start enjoying the outdoors.