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Beware of These 5 Fatal Mosquito-Borne Diseases

What kind of damage can a mosquito cause? After all, they just buzz around and try to bite you, right? The bite doesn’t even hurt too much. However, the big deal is the disease. These parasites can transmit disease from one carrier to another, which is why mosquito control is so important.

Beware of the Menace of Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Tiger Mosquito

Spring is just around the corner, and with it, comes blossoming flowers, warmer temperatures and longer days. Spring is the perfect time to get back in the habit of backyard barbecues, baseball games and leisurely walks with the dog.

Unfortunately, spring is also a time when mosquitoes slowly begin to come out in force and cause a great deal of annoyance to anyone they come into contact with. Mosquitoes flourish in the springtime due to the rainfall that provides endless areas of standing water.

Mosquitoes thrive on standing water as it creates an environment that they can easily survive and breed.

How Mosquito Disease Is Spread

To understand the dangers, it’s important to know how mosquitoes can spread disease. When a mosquito feeds, it first uses its saliva to prevent blood from clotting. Then it draws a small amount of a person’s blood into its system.

If the person is infected with a disease, such as malaria, the cells replicate inside the insect and will later be transmitted to its saliva. The next time it feeds, the saliva that stops the clotting of blood on the next victim can transmit the disease.

The Most Dangerous Creature on the Planet!

Without question, the mosquito is the most dangerous creature on the planet. For some, this may be difficult to believe, especially when considering such creatures like bears, sharks, and crocodiles.

However, when one considers that mosquitoes are responsible for killing more people than all the wars in history by spreading diseases directly to humans, then the statement becomes much more believable.

Mosquitoes that transmit malaria kill two to three million people and infect an additional two hundred million or more every single year! Tens of millions of other people are killed and debilitated by a plethora of other mosquito-borne diseases like Yellow Fever and Encephalitis.

The Danger to Humans

Mosquitoes have been responsible for a huge number of disease transmissions. West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever are two of the most prevalent mosquito disease, but the one that most people identify with mosquitoes is malaria.

Although this disease has been effectively controlled due to mosquito pest control and disease control in the United States, an estimated 40% of the world is susceptible to malaria. Sadly, this disease still affects an estimated 300-500 million people annually, and approximately one million of those die each year.

The Danger to Animals

People aren’t the only ones in danger from mosquito bites. Instances of dog heartworm have been reported in all 50 states, and even though dogs are the most affected, transmission can also occur in cats, foxes, and raccoons, among others. This is just another reason why mosquito pest control is essential.

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Mosquito Facts: All About Mosquitoes You Should Know

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Fatal Mosquito Diseases

Ever since the history of humankind has been recorded, there have been innumerable references to the havoc wreaked by mosquitoes – small, flying insects that have developed a taste for human blood.

The love affair between mosquitoes and human blood continues to this day, and the casualties are more than a million people all over the world who succumb to mosquito-borne diseases.

While mosquitoes are natives of warm areas, the theory that people living in cold zones are safe no longer hands good. This is because international travel has become commonplace and thousands of people routinely travel to countries where mosquito threat is enormous.

Let’s look at some of the major disease transmitted by mosquitoes all over the world:

#1. Malaria

Malaria (mal – bad and aria –air) is acknowledged as the oldest recognized disease attributed to mosquito bites. It’s also notorious for the number of deaths it has caused throughout the world over time. People staying in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the earth are at high risk of malaria.

Chemical pesticides, better hygiene, and overall improvement in living conditions have contributed to the effective control of the disease’s proliferation. In the USA, Anopheles quadrimaulatus and Anopheles freeborni are the primary carriers of protozoa (Plasmodium vivax).

Thanks to mosquito control, measures taken up aggressively and the US is relatively free from the threat of malaria. But it pays to play safe and ensure that antimalarial conditions are created and maintained.

#2. Chikungunya

The Chikungunya virus is transmitted by the Asian Tiger mosquito and the Yellow Fever mosquito. The most distinguishing symptoms of Chikungunya affliction are joint pains that are excruciating.

People affected by the virus experience the debilitating effects for a few weeks during which making even the smallest of body movements can be a slow and painful task.

#3. Dengue Fever

Dengue is a major health threat in countries spread across Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Relatively harmless from mortality-point of view, dengue, however, is characterized by symptoms that can be extremely uncomfortable.

The frequency and the intensity of the disease have been on the rise in recent times, raising alarm bells among governments and health authorities across the world. The virus is mainly carried by Aedes aegipti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

#4. Encephalitis

St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) is a mosquito-borne disease that affects people across the US. The disease mainly affects people who are either very young or those who are old. Culex species of mosquitoes transmit the virus from birds to human beings.

Symptoms are typically flu-like – fever, sore throat and headache. However, severe afflictions could be manifested in rising in body temperature, severe headache after which the body suffers multiple seizures and lapses into a coma. Survivors eventually suffer brain damage and will need lifetime nursing.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) symptoms are akin to the SLE. The virus is transmitted by Culex species mosquitoes to human beings and animals, mainly horses. The disease affects the central nervous system of the human body and in serious cases lead to permanent brain damage and debilitation.

You also have another disease like LaCrosse encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile virus, Yellow Fever. Anti-mosquito sprays and formulations are available for controlling the presence of mosquitoes, and it is advisable also to ensure clean premises.

#5. Zika Virus

The Zika virus is a hazardous disease that is transmitted directly to humans by the bite of a mosquito. There is a link between the Zika virus and neurologic conditions in infected adults, including cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

A native of central Africa where it was discovered in 1947, the Zika virus is the latest mosquito-borne disease to terrorize the modern world in 2014. More than a thousand people are reported infected by the virus which is transmitted by the Aedes Egypti species of mosquito.

Typical symptoms begin with fever accompanied by rashes, pains of the joints, and conjunctivitis. While the impact of the virus is mild, the real threat lies in its ability to affect fetuses in the womb of infected persons. The Zika virus is feared mainly because it can result in babies with microcephaly – a congenital defect affecting cranium and brain size, and performance.

Zika fever in pregnant women can cause abnormal brain development in their fetuses by mother to child transmission. This can result in miscarriage or microcephaly. The Zika virus is transmitted by active daytime mosquitoes of a handful of different mosquito species.

Beware of These 5 Fatal Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Microcephaly on a newborn baby (Flickr)

“While the impact of the virus is mild, the real threat lies in its ability to affect fetuses in the womb of infected persons.”

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As of now, the Zika virus is most prominent in Central and South America. Many fear that the Zika virus will begin to spread and become more prominent in the Northern United States.

The Zika virus has spread at an alarming rate and over 800 Americans, and 300 Zika virus cases have been confirmed in New York from mosquitoes as of the end of June 2016.

The World Health Organization [W.H.O.] has declared an international health emergency over the spread of the Zika virus, now known to cause devastating birth defects. The CDC has urged pregnant women to avoid 45 countries with Zika. New York Senator Charles Schumer is calling on Congress to pass $1.9 billion in emergency funding to combat the spread of the virus that is known to cause severe birth defects.

There have been some cases in the Finger Lakes region of New York, and the entire state is at risk. Pregnant women are being advised to stay away from anywhere where Zika-carrying mosquitoes are native or have been spotted. To date, there is no treatment or vaccine for Zika virus, which is a priority of the C.D.C. and the W.H.O.

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Mosquitoes & Malaria in the U.S

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What Mosquitoes Carry Zika and Yellow Fever Virus?

The Aedes aegypti mosquito has spread the majority of the Zika cases across the world and in the US is found in Florida and Hawaii. The Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) also carries the virus, and these mosquitoes have been found in New York and Chicago.

A recent study has revealed that Tiger mosquitoes can also transmit yellow fever virus. Yellow fever still remains a significant public health problem in South America, especially in Brazil. The researchers found that Tiger mosquitoes are capable of colonizing urban areas and forests. According to WHO, every year, there are 20,000 cases of yellow fever and 30,000 deaths are recorded worldwide. 

Where Does Zika Come from?

This virus was first discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947, but it remained in Africa and Asia for decades where people began to build up a resistance to it.

Zika did not begin spreading widely on the back of increased mosquito populations in the Western Hemisphere until sometime in the last two-to-three years.

The Zika virus wreaked havoc on millions of Brazilians in 2015, when it was identified as the “mystery disease” infecting people in the northeast region of Brazil.

There are now 45 countries reporting cases of Zika. Since mosquitoes have been migrating and running rampant in the United States and Central America, it is not a coincidence that Zika virus has found its way to the northeastern US and New York, in particular, in the middle of its mosquito season (the warm months of spring, summer, and autumn).

The Menace of Mosquito-Borne Diseases, Rest Easy Pest Control, NYC and Long Island Exterminator

Asian Tiger Mosquito (Photo: Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org)

How Does Zika Affect Us?

The Zika virus affects pregnant women, as unborn babies are subject to severe birth defects including blindness, deafness, seizures and other congenital defects, and brain damage through microcephaly.

In adults especially older people, Zika can cause a temporary paralysis, called Guillain-Barré syndrome, and these symptoms: a fever (rarely higher than 102 degrees); a pink itchy rash; sensitivity to light; headaches and joint pains, since they have weak immune systems.

Because the virus is relatively new to the western hemisphere, this is little to no one in the Americas that is immune to it causing its rapid pandemic. The only good news so far is that about four in five victims have no symptoms, and most adults who do exhibit symptoms usually recover within a week. The Zika virus can also be spread through unprotected sex, as the blood is what carries it.

Through biting victims with blood in their bodies, the mosquitoes through the ingestion of blood spread Zika since they are the biggest transmitters of the virus. It should be urged that pregnant women and their newborn children be tested since there might be a possibility that they may have been in contact with Zika carrying mosquitoes.

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Mosquito Prevention: Protect Your Family (and Pets) from Malicious Mosquito Bites

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Mosquito Control

Controlling these pests can sometimes be tricky, but with a little work, it can be done. A popular method to use at home is to install a netting system that effectively keeps them away from the outside of your house. This will drastically lower the chances of these parasites getting in.

Another great method is to set up an outdoor misting system that sprays poison in likely areas at set times during the day or night. If you’re not at home, these methods won’t help, of course. So if you go outside to an area where mosquitoes might be, pick up a mosquito repellent spray.

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2018-10-05T16:41:36+00:00By |Mosquitoes|