Health officials issue warnings concerning the possible contraction of mosquito-borne illnesses

Health officials issue warnings

Health officials in both Alabama and Florida have issued warnings concerning the possible contraction of mosquito-borne illnesses.

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The Alabama Department of Public Health issued a warning late last week, stating local residents should be on guard against mosquito-borne illnesses after four cases of the West Nile Virus have been reported in the state so far this summer. For Atmore residents, a confirmed case of the virus in neighboring Escambia County Fla. has given the warning even more clout.

The Florida Department of Health confirmed Wednesday the first human case of WNV has been reported in Escambia County (Fla.), although the FDH did not disclose where in the county the person resides. In late July, the ADPH confirmed four positive cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in horses located in Dallas County and also diagnosed four sentinel chickens in Baldwin County as suffering from the West Nile virus.

Approximately one-in-five people who are infected with WNV will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash, according to ADPH findings. Less than one percent, they say, will develop a serious neurological illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).

Officials said sentinel chickens are used to monitor the presence of mosquito-borne disease in an area and, at this point, five sentinel chickens in Baldwin County and three sentinel chickens in Mobile County have tested positive for WNV this summer.

Dr. Dee W. Jones, state public health veterinarian, said residents should be on guard during the rainy summer season as mosquitoes that can spread these viruses to humans are commonly found in urban and suburban communities, as well as rural, freshwater swamp areas. They will breed readily in storm sewers, ditches, waste lagoons and artificial containers around houses.

“With many people enjoying outdoor activities, it is important that residents take every effort to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes,” Jones said. “Keep your mosquito repellent with you at all times when you are working or participating in recreational activities outdoors.”

Dr. Susan Turner, Associate for the Escambia County (Fla.) Health Department said awareness is they key to prevention.

“A human case of West Nile Virus indicates a high risk of becoming infected with the virus,” Turner said. “It is especially important to protect yourself and those you love from mosquito bites right now.”

According to the ADPH, when a person is infected, early recognition and prompt supportive treatment for these illnesses can substantially lower the risk of developing severe disease. About 10 percent of people who develop neurological infection due to WNV will die. People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and organ transplants, are at greater risk for serious illness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to prevent the most common mosquito-borne diseases, such as WNV and EEE, is to avoid mosquito bites by following these recommendations:

· Use insect repellents when going outdoors.

· Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.

· Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air   conditioning, if available.

· Empty standing water from items outside homes, such as flowerpots, buckets and children’s pools.

No medications are available to treat or vaccines available to prevent WNV infection. People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks. In more severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication and nursing care. Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact a health care provider.

Repellents are an important tool to assist people in protecting themselves from mosquito-borne diseases. CDC recommends the use of repellents containing active ingredients which have been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing. Products containing these active ingredients typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection. These include the following:

· DEET

· Picaridin

· Oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD, the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus

· IR3535

Insect repellents must state any age restrictions. According to the label, oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under three years of age. Parents should choose the type and concentration of repellent to be used by taking into account the amount of time a child will be outdoors, exposure to mosquitoes and the risk of mosquito-transmitted disease in the area. People should consult their health care provider for advice about using repellent products on children.

Don’t forget! Only a few more days left to submit your entries to the Show Us Your Scream contest!

Don’t forget! Only a few more days left to submit your entries to the Show Us Your Scream contest!

NPMA Launches “Show Us Your Scream” Contest

Show us your scream large

If you are like me (and like most others), you undoubtedly have your own pest-phobia. Well, instead of living with that little secret, you can now tell the world about it with NPMA’s Show Us Your Scream Contest!

We (NPMA) wants pest-phobes to join together and take comfort in our unity. We want to show that it’s okay to be fearful of pests. We want to capture the most harrowing, crazy, grossed-out reactions people have when they think about a pest crawling across the floor (or on the dinner table or in the bathtub or even across the bed).

Have you got a great scream inside you? Can your family show us a guttural reaction to creepy-crawlies? You will find all the details of the Show Us Your Scream Contest here. Show us what you’ve got! The winning entry will get to scream again – but this time for fun – with an all expense paid trip to an amusement park!

Ten Things to Know About Bed Bugs and Your Health ~ Pestworld

Ten Things to Know About Bed Bugs and Your Health

– National Pest Management Association

Bed bugs and disease

The words “bed bugs” tend to evoke many unpleasant feelings and the idea of being in the proximity of these pests can often send people running. However, as bed bug infestations have become more commonplace in the past few years, it is important to know why bed bugs are drawn to us and what implications these blood-sucking pests have on human health. Here ten important bed bug facts to know:

Fact # 1: Bed bugs are attracted by warmth and carbon dioxide. So, if you are alive, warm and breathing – you are a bed bug magnet. Although bed bugs are not nocturnal, they are most active at night because that is when their human targets are sleeping and emitting a steady stream of carbon dioxide allowing for prime feeding time.

Fact #2: Just because you don’t see them, it does not mean they are not there. In fact, you have to look closely because they can be hard to see. Bed bugs love to hide in the cracks and crevices associated with mattresses, cushions, bed frames and other structures. They are rarely seen out in the open or on the resting surface of beds or chairs— with the exception of large-scale infestations. They are champions of hide-and-seek. It is not uncommon to miss bed bugs altogether, so also look for telltale signs of an infestation such as specks of blood or feces found on linens, mattresses or on walls.

Fact #3: Bed bugs have flat oval bodies, are reddish-brown in color and are sometimes described as having the size and appearance of an apple seed. Adult bed bugs range in size from 5-7 mm (<1/4 inch), while nymphs (juveniles) may be a small is 1.5 mm (1/16 of an inch). As they feed they enlarge, or engorge, with blood. The adults turn from more brown to more red in color, while the translucent nymphs may become bright red.

Fact # 4: Bed bugs typically feed at night by biting exposed areas of skin such as the face, neck, hands, legs and arms. The bite itself is painless and usually goes undetected at the time because bed bugs inject an anticoagulant (a blood thinner)  along with an anesthetic to create a numbing effect as they feed. Because feeding usually takes 5-10 minutes, this anesthetic-like compound allows the bed bugs to easily feed uninterrupted.

Fact #5: Bed bug bites can look a lot like other insect bites. Clues that can suggest the presence of bed bugs include finding red, itchy bites upon awakening – especially if the bites line up in a row on the skin (known as breakfast, lunch and dinner). However, while some people develop a bite reaction immediately, others may not see a reaction for 2-3 days — and some may not see a reaction at all. A bed bug bite can appear as a tiny puncture wound without a surrounding reaction, and can easily be missed (30 percent of individuals living in bed bug infested dwellings report a lack of bites or skin reactions). This appears to be more common amongst the elderly, as noted in the studyThe Sensitivity Spectrum: Human Reactions to Bed Bug Bites. On the other hand, other people have exuberant reactions, with large red, raised and itchy welts. This is especially true if one becomes sensitized to bed bugs bites, so that with repeated bites there may be a more exaggerated skin reaction.

Fact #6: In situations with persistent exposures to the pest, bed bug bites may appear in groups. Given bedbug bites usually take 3 to 6 weeks to heal, as long as the infestation is still present, new bites may accumulate even as the older ones disappear. Thus, people may have various bite reactions in various stages of evolution at the same time.

Fact #7: Bed bug bites do not typically require treatment. Itching is by far the most common complaint by those who experience bed bug bites. If the itching becomes severe, people will find relief with topical steroid creams or oral antihistamines. Clean the bite site(s) with soap and water and avoid scratching so as to prevent infection. If a secondary infection occurs, consult your physician so it can be managed with antibiotics as appropriate. Progressive swelling, warmth, tenderness and (albeit rare) fever may be signs of secondary infection.

Fact #8: Unlike mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease to humans. While some pathogens have been detected in and on bedbugs – including hepatitis B, and exotic organisms such asTrypanosoma cruzi (cause of Chagas Disease, most commonly found in Central and South America) orWolbachia species – bed bugs have not been associated with disease transmission.

Fact #9: Bed bugs do not transmit MRSA. There have been reports of persons developing methicillin resistantStaphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections (such as a boil or abscess) associated with bed bug bites, but it turns out the infections were secondary. MRSA infections associated with bed bug bites are actually an example of scratching leading to minor skin trauma and subsequent secondary bacterial infection. In these cases, people who are carriers of MRSA scratch at the bites and provide a port of entry for the MRSA (which was already present on their skin) to get in and under the skin and cause the secondary infection. The bed bug can be blamed for the itch, but not for the infection.

Fact #10: Some people experience anxiety, sleeplessness, and unease as a result of having bed bugs. Bed bug infestations are understandably significant psychosocial stressors, and some people may experience sleeplessness as they worry about bugs biting them or their family members. People have been known to self-isolate, avoiding family and friends out of concern for spreading the infestation. Additionally, some people may also be stigmatized by friends or others in the community, or find they have problems at work if their bed bug problem becomes widely known. As a result, victims of bed bug infestations may experience moderate to severe levels of stress, anxiety and depression and should seek treatment as necessary.

Finally, when it comes to controlling bedbugs this is definitely NOT a case of “do it yourself” as bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that victims of bed bug infestations contact their landlord or an experienced pest management professional.

Additional Pest Control Industry Research Shows Lack of Consumer Knowledge About Cockroaches & Asthma

A national study on factors that affect asthma in inner-city children shows that cockroach allergens appear to worsen asthma symptoms more than other known triggers.  This study, funded by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is the first large-scale study to rank asthma triggers according to severity.

Additionally, a 2005 research study, sponsored by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), shows a disparity in homeowner knowledge about this link.  Only 10% of homeowners nationwide feel that cockroaches are a threat to their family’s health.

Fortunately for homeowners, there is a solution for this asthma trigger.  Professional pest control services are proven to reduce cockroach populations, which in turn, reduces the number of allergens that trigger children’s asthma attacks.

This sentiment was echoed by NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D in recently published articles where he cites “proven exterminating techniques”as a key component in reducing allergen populations.  While that is true, It is vital that these proven techniques are completed by a professional pest control company with the training and certifications necessary to treat the infestations.

For further information, visit www.bugs.com

Just Call HULETT!

WashingtonPost.com: Pesky, Flying Bugs Take Over Olympic Stadium

LONDON (The Associated Press) – There’s a bug problem at the Olympic Stadium.

Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of bugs descended on the stadium Wednesday evening. They caused a nuisance for fans, stadium workers and maybe even track and field athletes.

Olympic workers say the bugs are flying ants that, while pesky, are harmless.

With almost no wind swirling in the 80,000-seat stadium, the bugs are everywhere and show no signs of relenting.

Fans in every direction could be seen swatting the small creatures away.

Florida Pet Control

Hulett ~ Your source for termite information

Your source for termite information

What is the difference between a termite and a flying ant?

There are 3 ways to tell termites and flying ants apart:

Wing size

Termite wings are all equal in length and extend well past the abdomen. However, ants have wings which are unequal in length and generally end at the tip of the abdomen.

Antennae shape

Antennae on termites are straight and beadlike, but on ants they are elbowed.

Waist size

Ants have a pinched waist (abdomen), but termites have no constriction in the body and are more streamlined.

Termite and Ant Control:

Whether you found a termite or a flying ant, you could have an infestation problem. Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty termite control treatments designed to control and eliminate these pests!

 

A “Back to school” quiz: do you know WHAT “IPM” is?

A “Back to school” quiz: do you know WHAT “IPM” is?

National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages parents’ support of properly implemented Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs in schools

National Pest Management Association (NPMA) encourages parents’ support of properly implemented Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs in schools

Fairfax, VA) — With the new school year upon us, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – a cutting edge approach to pest control – is likely to reemerge as a “hot” topic for local school districts.  Currently, thirty-three states have passed legislation addressing some matter related to IPM in schools.  Yet, for an issue that is finding political traction, 67% of the general public report having little to no knowledge of IPM (2007 survey, NPMA/Harris Interactive).  With pests posing a year round concern in schools, school districts continue to play a central role in the IPM debate. Parents need to be able to make informed decisions about IPM in their schools, especially considering the threat pests may pose to both health and property.

“We encourage parents to educate themselves about IPM and to serve as advocates for its proper implementation, especially in schools.” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA.  “IPM involves common sense and sound solutions for treating and controlling pests through inspection, identification and treatment.  Treatment options vary from sealing cracks to removing water sources to applying products, when necessary.   Most importantly, though, a proper IPM execution requires a partnership with a licensed pest professional.”

To provide consumers with a comprehensive, “go-to” resource about integrated pest management, NPMA has recently launched www.WhatIsIPM.org.  This site offers the public timely information on IPM.  Additionally, WhatisIPM.org features a “virtual home” tour, which affords visitors a “hands-on” opportunity to learn how pests enter a home and how IPM techniques can help to prevent infestations. As the “go to” information source for parents and school administrators, WhatisIPM.org also features a section on IPM in schools.

To learn more about integrated pest management visit www.WhatIsIPM.org.  For information on finding a local pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 6,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.