Mosquito-Borne Illnesses in Charlotte, NC

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection caused by the dengue virus, primarily transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes, particularly the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species. While these mosquitoes are present in various parts of the world, including some regions of the United States, the risk of contracting dengue fever in Charlotte, NC, is generally low.

However, it's essential to note that travel-related cases are possible. If an individual from Charlotte were to travel to a region where dengue fever is prevalent, they could be exposed to the virus through mosquito bites in that area. Upon returning home, if the individual were to develop symptoms, there would be a risk of local transmission if bitten by an Aedes mosquito capable of carrying the virus.
The symptoms of dengue fever can vary in severity, and some individuals may not display any noticeable signs. However, common signs and symptoms include:

  • High Fever: Sudden onset of a high fever, often reaching up to 104°F (40°C).
  • Severe Headache: Intense headaches, which are a common and characteristic symptom of dengue fever.
  • Pain Behind the Eyes: Pain and discomfort, particularly in the area behind the eyes.
  • Joint and Muscle Pain: Severe joint and muscle pain, often referred to as "breakbone fever" due to the intense discomfort.

Zika Virus

Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus primarily transmitted to humans through the bites of infected Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. While the risk of Zika transmission in Charlotte, NC, is generally considered low, staying informed and taking precautions is essential, especially when traveling to regions where the virus is more prevalent.

However, it's crucial to consider the potential for travel-related cases. If individuals from Charlotte travel to areas where Zika is more prevalent, they may be at risk of contracting the virus from mosquito bites in those regions. Pregnant women are particularly cautioned to avoid travel to areas with active Zika transmission, as the virus has been linked to severe birth defects, including microcephaly.

When symptoms do occur, they are usually mild and can resemble those of other mosquito-borne illnesses. The most common signs and symptoms of Zika virus infection include:

  • Fever: Individuals infected with Zika virus may experience a mild to moderate fever. This is often one of the initial symptoms.
  • Rash: A rash is a common symptom of Zika infection. It typically appears a few days after the onset of fever and can be itchy.
  • Joint and Muscle Pain: Zika virus infection may cause joint and muscle pain, similar to symptoms observed in dengue fever.
  • Conjunctivitis (Red Eyes): Zika virus infection may result in red and irritated eyes, a condition known as conjunctivitis.
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes: Some people may experience mild swelling of the lymph nodes.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that can cause a range of illnesses in humans, from mild symptoms to severe neurological complications. While WNV has been reported in various parts of the United States, the risk of contracting the virus in Charlotte, NC, is generally considered low. However, it's essential for residents to be aware of the potential presence of WNV and take precautions to minimize mosquito exposure.

West Nile virus infection can range from asymptomatic to mild flu-like symptoms (West Nile fever) to severe neurological disease (neuroinvasive disease). The majority of people infected with WNV do not develop severe illness, but older adults and individuals with weakened immune systems may be at higher risk for complications. Those who do experience symptoms may contract a fever, headache, body aches, fatigue, or a skin rash, similar to the symptoms of other mosquito-borne illnesses. 


Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes, particularly the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus species. While Chikungunya is more commonly associated with tropical and subtropical regions, cases have been reported in various parts of the United States, including some areas in North Carolina. However, the likelihood of contracting Chikungunya from mosquitoes in Charlotte, NC, is generally considered low. 

In Charlotte, NC, the presence of Aedes mosquitoes, particularly Aedes albopictus, has been noted, but the overall risk of Chikungunya transmission is lower compared to tropical regions. The temperate climate of Charlotte, with distinct seasons and colder winters, may limit the establishment and persistence of Aedes mosquito populations.

Chikungunya is a viral illness that is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms, typically 2 to 12 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The signs and symptoms of Chikungunya can be similar to those of other mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever. Common symptoms include:

  • Fever: Chikungunya often begins with a sudden and high fever, usually over 102°F (39°C).
  • Joint Pain: Joint pain (arthralgia) is a hallmark of Chikungunya. It can be severe and affect multiple joints, including the wrists, knees, ankles, and small joints of the hands and feet. The joint pain can be debilitating and may persist for weeks to months.
  • Muscle Pain: Patients may experience muscle pain (myalgia), which can contribute to the overall discomfort.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Some people may experience nausea and vomiting, although these symptoms are less common.

Other Illnesses

While these four illnesses are generally the most common in the US, none of them are very high-risk for the Charlotte area. Florida, Texas, and Hawaii are typically the three states most susceptible to outbreaks of these diseases due to the climate. 

There are many more mosquito-borne illnesses that these pests are capable of spreading:

  • Malaria
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis
  • Yellow Fever
  • LaCrosse Encephalitis
  • Rift Valley Fever
  • And more

Luckily, the chances of contracting any of these illnesses in North Carolina are low. However, it's still important to protect your property from infestation. 

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