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.
Educational – Cockroaches 101
Missy Henriksen with the National Pest Management Association discusses cockroaches and provides tips to help you keep these pests out of your house.
8:34PM EDT October 17. 2012 – West Nile virus cases in the U.S. hit 4,531 as of Tuesday, including 183 deaths, making 2012 the second-worst year ever for the mosquito-borne illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.
Cases were up 8% from last week, to 282, including 15 more deaths reported, said Erin Staples, a West Nile expert for the CDC. The numbers don’t represent a new wave of mosquito activity, but rather cases slowly working their way through to the CDC, she said. “It’s a reporting lag. We’re not hearing from our state partners that they’re getting a deluge of cases.”
It can take several weeks from when a person feels ill, goes to the doctor and then is tested for West Nile virus. Next, the report must go to the local health department and then to the state health department, which reports it to the CDC. The CDC then updates its numbers weekly, on Wednesdays. “So what we’re seeing is probably illnesses that occurred in September,” Staples said.
The peak of the disease appears to have hit at the end of August, when cases were going up as much as 35% a week. “As the cold weather sets in, particularly in the North and then moving south, that will stop the mosquito activity and then decrease the number of cases,” Staples said.
The state that has been most affected is Texas with 1,580 cases, of whom 55 died. California is next with 285 cases and 11 deaths.
So far, 2012 has surpassed all years but 2003 for the number of cases. In the past week, it surpassed 2006 and it beat out 2002 the week before, Staples said.
Most people infected with West Nile virus will not have any signs of illness, but 20% will experience mild symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches and, in some cases, a skin rash on the trunk of the body and swollen lymph glands.
People older than 50 and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk. About one in 150 people will get more severe symptoms: headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
Hulett Environmental reminds people to take extra precautions to guard against stinging insects
The late summer and early fall are popular times for people to flock outdoors to enjoy the summer sun. Unfortunately, it is also the most active and aggressive season for stinging insects including wasps and yellow jackets, warns Hulett Environmental Services a pest management company servicing Florida.
“Whether completing home maintenance projects or attending a holiday cookout, anyone spending time outside during the warmer months is likely to encounter stinging insects,” said Greg Rice, Marketing for Hulett Environmental Services “These pests are known to dole out painful stings, which can be life-threatening to people who have an allergic reaction.”
In fact, the National Pest Management Association, a nonprofit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property from household pests, reports that stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year.
“It is important that people don’t provoke stinging insects by swatting at them. Instead, they can take a few extra precautions to prevent an unwanted encounter with these pests,” added Rice. Experts at the NPMA and Hulett offer the following tips to avoid being stung:
- Ensure all doors and windows in your home have screens that are in good condition.
- When dining outside, keep food covered until ready to eat.
- Remove garbage frequently and keep trashcans covered.
- Wear shoes, especially in grassy areas.
- Overseed grassy areas to get better coverage, as this will deter ground-nesting insects.
- Paint/stain untreated wood.
- Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes.
- Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction.
- Seek immediate medical attention if stung, as reactions can be severe.
- Do not attempt to remove a hive or nest on your own.
For more information on stinging insects, visit www.bugs.com
FAIRFAX, Va., Jun 18, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Summer has barely begun but it’s likely many people have already encountered one of the season’s most ubiquitous pests — the mosquito. As is the case with many other insects, mosquitoes have made an early emergence after a mild winter and rainy spring. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that this might be one of the worst seasons yet, so break out the repellant.
“Mosquito season is highly dependent on rain events, and states are monitoring rainfall and pest management companies are applying treatments accordingly,” noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “This summer, mosquito numbers have the potential to grow significantly and it’s important for people to take precautions to avoid exposure.”
Although mosquitoes are known to carry a variety of diseases, West Nile virus (WNV) is of most concern in the United States.
“In most cases West Nile Virus is a mild infection with symptoms so slight they can go unnoticed, or feel like a summer flu. In extreme cases, it can be a potentially life threatening infection with higher fever, head and body aches, worsening weakness, confusion and even coma. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention,” advised Dr. Jorge Parada, medical spokesperson for the NPMA.
The NPMA offers the following tips to avoid becoming a mosquito meal:
– Eliminate areas of standing water around the home such as flowerpots, birdbaths, baby pools, grill covers and other objects where water collects. Mosquitoes need only about 1/2 inch of water to breed.
– Screen all windows and doors. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
– Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
– If you must spend time outdoors during peak mosquito times, wear long pants and sleeves and use an insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.
– If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, contact a pest management company or your local mosquito abatement district.
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.
SOURCE: National Pest Management Association