A Look at The Dangerous Diseases Mosquitoes Carry
Most of us associate mosquitoes with annoying, itchy bumps on our skin. A mosquito bite can do a lot more than just itch, however. Mosquitoes can carry several dangerous diseases, some of them deadly. Learn about the diseases mosquitoes carry and also some effective mosquito control tips to keep mosquitoes away.
Mosquitoes Carry West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus was first found in Uganda in 1937, and traveled into Europe, the Middle East, and central Asia. It first appeared in North America in 1999 in New York. In that year, seven people and nine horses died from West Nile Virus. By 2014, there were more than 35,000 reported cases of West Nile Virus, with more than 1,500 reported deaths.
West Nile Virus cycles between birds and mosquitoes but is transmitted to mammals and humans by infected mosquitoes. West Nile Fever is a mild illness, with flu-like symptoms like tiredness, headaches, fever, or a rash that often lasts more than 30 days. Three other types of West Nile Virus are called neuroinvasive diseases, which means the nervous system is affected. West Nile encephalitis affects the brain.
Fewer than 1% of West Nile cases turn into anything more serious than flu-like symptoms, while 70-80% of people never exhibit any symptoms at all.
Mosquitoes Carry Zika Virus
The first discovery of Zika virus was in macaque monkeys in the Zika Forest region of Uganda in 1947. In the continental US, there have been more than 4,000 reported cases of Zika virus from travel and 139 local transmissions as of October 26, 2016.
Most people with Zika experience mild symptoms, like rashes, fever, and joint pain. Many people never get sick enough to seek treatment, so it becomes difficult to accurately track cases of Zika. The largest danger is to babies in the womb. When a pregnant woman is infected with Zika, her unborn baby may develop microcephaly, a congenital defect of cranium and brain size that causes profound neurological defects in newborns that usually result in death.
Mosquitoes Carry Dengue Fever
Dengue Fever is an arboviral disease found in the Americas, Asia and Africa. It is rarely found in the continental U.S., but it has shown up in Texas and Florida in recent years. More than 400 million people are infected each year, and approximately 22,000 people die annually from dengue. Dengue fever presents itself as a headache, fever, and body ache.
Mosquitoes Carry Malaria
While local exposure to malaria hasn’t occurred in America in 100 years, malaria is still a prominent threat throughout the world, especially in Africa. Malaria is an ancient disease, with the Chinese describing it in 2,700 BC. An astonishing 300 to 500 million cases of malaria in the world are reported each year.
DDT, air conditioners, and window screens have reduced its transmission throughout the world, leaving tropical areas as the most exposed. Approximately 1,500 US citizens contract the disease each year from traveling. Antimalarial drugs are available however.
Mosquitoes Carry Yellow Fever
Yellow fever was first found 400 years ago, and is found mostly in South America and Africa, with 200,000 cases worldwide each year. The illness includes symptoms such as fever, chills, major headaches, and muscle aches. Occasionally death occurs, but there is a vaccine, and that has reduced the cases significantly.
Other mosquito-borne illnesses include Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, LaCrosse Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, dog heartworm, and Chikungunya.
Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes
While most of the above mosquito-borne diseases are uncommon in America, travel does occasionally bring them to our shores. Protect yourself by getting proper immunizations before travel, and by doing what you can to prevent mosquito bites both during travel and while at home.
Keep mosquitoes away from your home by removing standing water, repairing holes in your screens, and staying indoors during dawn and dusk in the warmer months. Hire a mosquito control company to monitor and prevent mosquito activity in your yard and home. Barefoot Mosquito offers the most effective method of mosquito control available.
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