Mosquitoes are widely considered to be the most dangerous animals on the planet for their link to malaria and other potentially deadly diseases. Here in Greensboro and throughout the United States, they're more likely to be thought of as the most annoying animals on the planet. We don't often hear of people dying from mosquito bites. Do you know why? The answer might surprise you.
How We Won The War On Malaria
The deadliest mosquito-borne disease in the world is undoubtedly malaria. It claims more than 750,000 lives each year. And mosquitoes are the primary vector for malaria. So, why don't we hear about people dying from malaria in the United States? In the 20th century, malaria was common here. But some southeastern states got together to formulate a plan to wipe out malaria. It worked. This mosquito-borne disease is no longer considered endemic to the United States, though there are still outbreaks. There have been more than 60 limited outbreaks of malaria in the last 50 years. Most cases of the disease, of which there are an average of 2,000 annually, are in U.S. residents returning from other countries.
What worked to stop malaria? It was a mixture of innovations.
The widespread use of DDT.
The implementation of drainage ditches.
The invention of the window and door screen.
Limited spraying of insecticides from aircraft.
The inception of residential and commercial pest control programs.
We Have Not Yet Won The War On West Nile
The leading cause of death related to mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. is West Nile virus. This virus has found a reservoir in local populations of animals. On average, we have 130 deaths each year that can be attributed to West Nile virus. In a population of 350 million, those are good odds. That's why you don't see it in the news. But, it is important to understand that it does happen. And one death is one death too many.
Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases In The U.S.
We have a long list of potentially dangerous mosquito-borne diseases that have outbreaks in the United States. In recent years, the disease that has gotten the most press is Zika virus for its ability to cause microcephaly in unborn children. We also see routine outbreaks of dengue virus, Chikungunya, and yellow fever, all of which can lead to human mortality.
The most common mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, apart from West Nile virus, are: Cache Valley, Eastern equine encephalitis, Jamestown Canyon, Japanese encephalitis, La Crosse encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, Ross River virus disease, and St. Louis encephalitis. The symptoms of these are similar to the flu, or the common cold. In fact, it is likely that you've gotten sick from one of these without knowing it. Mosquito-borne diseases have a much wider health implication than many realize. The problem is that these diseases go under the radar and are not reported. The most common symptom is brain swelling (encephalitis) which causes a headache. Keep this in mind the next time you're sick with a headache. You may have a mosquito-borne disease.
Mosquitoes Impact Dogs
Humans aren't the only victims of mosquitoes. If you have a dog, your dog can get sick from a mosquito bite. Dirofilariasis, commonly referred to as dog heartworm, is quite common. Dirofilariasis caused by the D. immitis worm can lead to pulmonary artery blockage in your dog. This can have serious medical implications for your pup.
The bad news isn't over. It is possible for you to get Dirofilaria. Human infections can result from exposure to D. immitis, D. repens, and D. Tenuis. If you're curious about these parasitic worms, which are spread by mosquitoes, consult the many pages that are available on the CDC website.
What Happens Most Of The Time
While a mosquito bite can be dangerous, your chances of becoming extremely sick or dying from a mosquito bite are incredibly low. In a population of more than 350 million, only a few thousand people are impacted by serious mosquito-borne diseases each year. But, does that mean you should go without mosquito protection? We don't think so. The risk of illness is ever-present and there is always a chance of an outbreak. But, even if you never have an infected mosquito enter your yard, ongoing mosquito control can make your yard a nicer place to be. Let's face it, mosquitoes are annoying. They cause itchy, inflamed bites on your skin and torment you while you're trying to enjoy cookouts, outdoor parties, gardening, and other activities.
Greensboro Mosquito Control
You don't have to live with mosquitoes in your backyard. Our team can help you establish a no-fly-zone and reduce mosquito activity to near zero. This will make all of your outdoor activities much nicer. Connect with us today for assistance.