Tag Archives: Mosquitoes

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.

WPTV.com (West Palm Beach, FL): Woman Contracts West Nile Virus In Palm Beach County, Health Department Issues Advisory

WPTV.com (West Palm Beach, FL): Woman Contracts West Nile Virus In Palm Beach County, Health Department Issues Advisory

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL – The Palm Beach County Health Department said a mosquito borne disease advisory issued in October will remain in effect today after it was confirmed that a woman contracted West Nile Virus in the county.

It has been five years since a resident was diagnosed with West Nile Virus in Palm Beach County — and it is the seventh case reported since 2000, health officials said.

PBC Health Department Director Alina Alonso said the department will continue monitoring for all mosquito borne diseases.

“Today’s West Nile Virus confirmation in a resident serves as a reminder for people to avoid mosquito bites as they do transmit disease,” said Alonso.

Officials said the woman became ill with the virus and was diagnosed by her medical provider.

The health department said West Nile Virus symptoms are generally mild and include a stiff neck or headache that lasts a few days. More severe cases include fever, dizziness, weakness and confusion.

A mosquito borne disease advisory from October was issued after two cases of Dengue Fever were reported in the county. Dengue is another disease carried by mosquitoes that is monitored along with St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the health department said.

These diseases are not transmitted person to person and are only acquired through the bite of a mosquito.

The PBC Health Department is encouraging everyone to drain any standing water from around their home or business, as mosquitoes can leave their eggs in the smallest water reservoirs. They are also advising people to cover their windows with screens in good condition, use air conditioning when possible and cover themselves with light weight, long sleeve clothing and pants.

Insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin are also effective in preventing the mosquito from biting, the department said.

The Health Department continues to monitor the mosquito population, Tim O’Connor explained, “We are also coming into the winter, so that should diminish slightly, but again, because of the high amounts of rain and the standing water that we’ve had around, those eggs are now hatching out, so there is a better likelihood that people could get a mosquito-borne disease.”

Mosquito control efforts and programs are continuing throughout the county following these alerts.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should see their medical provider or visit the nearest hospital or clinic.

Further information can be obtained by visiting the Department of Health Website at www.doh.state.fl.us , or the Palm Beach County Health Department site at www.pbchd.com or the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hxIKkBpF7g

Florida Mosquito Control ~ Just Call Hulett!

SW Fla. fighting mosquitoes, thanks to rainy Oct

The Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A rainy October has mosquito control officers buzzing in southwest Florida.

Officials say they are experiencing the worst mosquito season in two decades, thanks to weather patterns that created the ‘perfect storm’ for the pesky insects.

Lee County Mosquito Control District spokeswoman Shelly Redovan says the region began the year under a drought. That provided salt marsh mosquitoes a greater area to lay their eggs. The rainy season resulted in lots of standing water, which compounds the mosquito problem. The result? Officials say they’re still seeing thousands of mosquitos nightly.

The Fort Myers News-Press ( http://newspr.es/rRRcmS) reports the district is using airplanes, helicopters and trucks to spray.

The newspaper reports that southwest Florida received 10.40 inches of rain in October. That’s 6.94 inches above the normal rainfall for the month.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/02/2483338/sw-fla-fighting-mosquitoes-thanks.html#ixzz1cb2DYIUo

A CLOSER LOOK: Mosquitoes

(Diptera: Culicidae)

Appearance:

Mosquitoes bite with their mouthparts and have scales on the back of their wings.

Size:

Approximately ½-inch long.

Behavior:

Mosquitoes have caused countless problems for man throughout history. In order to lay eggs, a female mosquito must feed on the blood of a human or animal. It can leave behind serious health threats such as viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.

Habitat:

Mosquitoes require as little as 2 inches of standing water to successfully breed. Mosquitoes that attack people in their own yard are usually breeding close by. Other mosquitoes, such as container breeders, do not seek out a natural body of water, but rather lay eggs in any container that is holding water (bird bath, tire, bucket, etc…). Tree hole mosquitoes, for example, lay their eggs in standing water that has accumulated inside of the hollows within trees.

Interesting Fact:

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as encephalitis and West Nile Virus, cause many deaths in developing countries.

Control:

Do you live in Florida and think that this pest may be invading your home or yard? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty pest control treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!

Mosquitoes increase disease risk in USA – USATODAY.com

Mosquitoes increase disease risk in USA – USATODAY.com.

Appearance:

Mosquitoes bite with their mouth parts and have scales on the back of their wings.

Size:

Approximately ½-inch long.

Behavior:

Mosquitoes have caused countless problems for man throughout history. The mosquito feeds on human blood in order to provide nutrients to make eggs. It can leave behind serious health threats such as viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.

Habitat:

Mosquitoes rely on standing water to breed. Mosquitoes that attack people in their own yard are usually breeding close by. Many mosquitoes found around homes are known as “tree hole” mosquitoes. This species does not breed in a natural body of water; rather the female seeks out accumulated water in hollows of trees and such.

Interesting Fact:

Mosquito-borne diseases, such as encephalitis and West Nile Virus, cause many deaths in developing countries.

Control:

Do you live in Florida and think that this pest may be invading your home or yard? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty pest control treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!