Tag Archives: How to get rid of Mosquitoes

Mosquito Q & A

 

Is West Nile Virus something that the average American should be concerned about?

West Nile Virus continues to be a concern among Americans—and rightfully so. A recent consumer survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) points to mosquitoes as the number one concern in summer for homeowners nationwide.

West Nile Virus has spread across the country from Pennsylvania to Washington State since the first reported incidence in 1999. Since then, there have been a total of 19,710 reported cases, 785 of which were fatal. (Cite the CDC surveillance website totals). [[Figures from CDC West Nile Virus surveillance website totals from 1999-2006]]. In 2008, there were 1356 cases reported to the CDC.

If so, are there certain populations who are most at risk?

West Nile Virus effects populations nationwide.

What are some precautions that can be taken to help prevent mosquito bites in infants and toddlers?

There are a number of precautions parents can take to protect their home and family from mosquitoes. NPMA recommends a three-pronged approach: eliminate their food, shelter, and water. Here are some tips:

  • Eliminate or reduce mosquito-breeding sites by replacing all standing water at least once a week. This includes birdbaths, ponds and swimming pools.
  • Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
  • Introduce mosquito-eating fish such as gambusia, green sunfish, bluegills and minnows to standing water.
  • Screen windows, doors, and other openings with mesh.
    • Use mesh that is 18X18 strands per inch, or finer.
    • Seal around all screen edges; and keep doors and windows shut to prevent entry of most mosquito species.
  • Avoid going outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most active: during dusk or dawn.
  • Use repellent on exposed skin whenever and wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite. Check product labels for information on age restrictions to make sure they are safe for your toddler or infant.
  • According to the CDC, the most effective repellents currently available contain the active ingredient N, N-diethylbenzamide (DEET), in concentrations up to about 35% (greater concentrations don’t offer better protections). Again, check the product label for safety information regarding small children.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants, preferably treated with a repellent as well.

Consider contacting a pest control professional.  They can help reduce exposure to mosquitoes and decrease the risks for mosquito-borne illnesses by inspecting properties for mosquito breeding sites, treating to control mosquitoes, and by suggesting corrective actions, providing basic information, current news and references to other sources.

Contact your municipality or township to see if your community has a mosquito management program in place. Only a concerted community-wide effort can properly manage these pests and reduce the risks associated with them.

I’ve heard mosquitoes described as the most dangerous animals on earth because a high volume of fatalities can be attributed to mosquitoes. Do you feel this is accurate? Why or why not?

Mosquitoes are dangerous insects since they are known to transmit many potentially fatal diseases to both humans and mammals, such as horses.  Some of the most common and well-known diseases include West Nile Virus, malaria, dengue fever and equine encephalitis.  In Africa, over 700,000 children die each year from malaria.

Have the reported cases of West Nile Virus increased during recent years?

The reported incidences of West Nile Virus have generally increased over the years, with the most significant spike in 2003 with over 9,000 reported cases according to the CDC.

What is the forecast for mosquito-borne illness in the future?

Unfortunately we do not have a crystal ball to predict future outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses or other pest-related illnesses.  What we do know is that mosquitoes have been on this planet for millions of years and will continue to thrive.

Will we see an increase in the numbers of people infected by mosquito bites?

We really have no way to predict infection by mosquito bites.

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.

Dengue Fever Cases Subside In Florida, But Threats Remain

USNews.com: Dengue Fever Cases Subside In Florida, But Threats Remain

(HealthDay News) – While the alarming re-emergence in 2009 and 2010 of mosquito-borne dengue fever in the continental United States seems to have subsided, that’s no reason to believe the potentially deadly infection won’t be back, experts warn.

The outbreak of the sometimes-excruciating viral illness centered on southern Florida. Now, researchers have issued an update on the situation for one locale in particular, Key West.

“We know now that Key West is a high-risk area for dengue and we could have ongoing dengue outbreaks again,” said the report’s lead author, Carina Blackmore, from the Florida Department of Health. However, if people use air conditioners and screens and stay inside during hot, muggy days there is little chance dengue will become endemic, she said.

Dengue remains a leading cause of illness and death in tropical areas but was largely thought to be absent from the United States since the 1950s.

However, in 2009, 27 people living in Key West came down with illness via locally acquired infections, and then 66 more residents contracted the illness in 2010, the researchers report. The outbreak seems to have eased since then, with no cases reported in 2011.

That doesn’t mean that dengue is eliminated from the population, however, because around 75 percent of people infected never develop symptoms. Blackmore and her colleagues estimate, therefore, that about 5 percent of people living in Key West neighborhoods where cases occurred could be infected.

Because Key West has a large population of the type of mosquitoes that transmit dengue, called the “house mosquito,” Blackmore’s team decided to investigate the size of the outbreak there. They identified a number of cases and found that people who got dengue were less likely to use air conditioning, and they often had birdbaths or other types of containers where the mosquitoes could breed.

Blackmore noted that dengue is not transmitted person to person, but from humans to mosquitoes and then back to humans again. However, trying to eradicate house mosquitoes has never been successful, she said, because of where they tend to propagate. “House mosquitoes are lazy mosquitoes — they breed in [even] very small containers,” she said.

The report appears in the January issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, which is published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Hal Margolis, chief of the CDC’s dengue branch, said that most dengue that appears in the United States is still brought back by people who have traveled to areas in the world where the diseases is endemic. “There are thousands of people who come back with dengue. That’s really the biggest problem,” he said.

There are also sporadic outbreaks along the Texas/Mexican border, Margolis said. In addition, dengue is endemic in some areas of the United States such as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Asian possessions such as Guam and American Samoa, he said.

The Key West outbreak was unusual in that it lasted for two seasons, Margolis said. “Frankly, we don’t know if it is still there,” he added. “How it got introduced, we don’t know.”

Dengue could still become endemic in Florida, Margolis said. “We won’t know for several seasons. Only time will tell us; it’s really had to predict,” he said.

The disease can cause a high fever and people can feel sicker than they have ever felt before, Margolis said. “The danger comes in those people who get severe dengue; that usually happens with a second or third infection,” he said. “Twenty-five percent of people who have first infections may go on to have severe dengue.”

In severe dengue, plasma leaks out of the blood vessels, ending up around the lungs and abdomen, and sufferers can develop shock, Margolis said. About 15 percent of people have these severe signs, he said. About 1 percent may die, he added.

The biggest hope for prevention lies with a vaccine, Margolis said.

“There is a lot of effort on dengue vaccines going on, but it’s going to be another three or four years before a vaccine is approved,” he said. There are vaccines currently in clinical trials, he added.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University in New York City, agreed with the experts’ warnings. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see more cases,” he said.

Trying to control the mosquitoes to curb infections has not proven to be all that effective, he said. People who have air conditioning or screened windows may be at lower risk, since a closed house keeps the flying insects at bay.

The problem is that the mosquitoes in Key West are now carrying the disease, which makes it more likely that there will be more outbreaks, Siegel said.

More information

For more information on dengue, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.