Myth No. 5: The United States is free of mosquito-borne diseases
"No matter where you go in the U.S., there are good vectors (mosquitoes that transmit disease)," Savage said.
The Asian tiger mosquito, common in the Eastern and Central states, is a particular species to watch. It arrived in the United States from Asia in the 1980s, and the species is a documented carrier of dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya, dog heartworm and West Nile. Savage said this mosquito can be found in Ohio and Missouri, for example, and along the East Coast.
Malaria is no stranger here either. Malaria can flourish in moderate climates, Conlon said, not just in the tropics. As recent as the late 19th century, half the United States was endemic with the disease, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Of more recent concern to public health experts is the introduction of atypical or non-native viruses, such as West Nile and chikungunya.
"More challenges are meeting our shores every day from tourism and travel. If we let our guard down, chikungunya could take hold here," Conlon said. "The world's becoming a smaller place, and some of nastiest diseases on Earth are only a six-hour plane flight away."