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Mosquito-Borne Diseases

	This 2006 photograph depicted a female Aedes aegypti mosquito while she was in the process of acquiring a blood meal from her human host, who in this instance, was actually the biomedical photographer, James Gathany

Protecting workers from mosquito bites can prevent diseases.

Mosquito-borne diseases are those spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Diseases that are spread to people by mosquitoes include Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria.

Employers should protect workers and workers should protect themselves from diseases spread by mosquitoes. Although most people do not become sick after a bite from an infected mosquito, some people have a mild, short-term illness or (rarely) severe or long-term illness. Severe cases of mosquito-borne diseases can cause death.

Workers at Risk

Workers are at risk when they are working where mosquitoes are biting. Different species of mosquitoes are found in different geographic locations, are most active at different times, and spread different diseases. The risk to workers varies with

  • where they are working in the United States or elsewhere
  • type of habitat at the work site
  • season
  • time of day.

Workers at risk of being bitten by mosquitoes are those who spend time outdoors, including farmers, foresters, landscapers, groundskeepers, gardeners, painters, roofers, pavers, construction workers, laborers, mechanics, entomologists, wildlife biologists, and field workers.

Laboratory and clinical workers who handle infected fluids or tissues may also be at risk of infection. Transmission may occur through a break in their skin or via a sharp penetration injury.

What Employers Should Do

Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Employers should decrease mosquito populations at worksites by

  • removing, turning over, covering, or storing equipment
  • removing debris from ditches
  • filling in ruts and other areas that collect standing water
  • removing tires, buckets, bottles, and barrels that collect water  
  • placing drain holes in containers that collect water and cannot be discarded.

Employers can keep mosquitoes out of indoor worksites by ensuring that doors and windows have screens and are kept closed when possible.

Employers should also protect workers by providing

  • training about:
    • the risk of exposure to mosquitoes
    • how they can protect themselves from mosquito bites
    • symptoms of diseases spread by mosquitoes
  • protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • EPA-registered insect repellents to use on exposed skin and clothing

What Workers Should Do

Workers can reduce their risk of mosquito bites while working outdoors, by

  • helping to reduce sources of standing water
  • wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • using EPA-registered insect repellents on exposed skin and clothing, as directed on the product labels.

Workers who develop symptoms of a mosquito-borne disease should report this promptly to their supervisor and get medical attention.