Archive for category Dengue Fever

Do Mosquitoes Transmit Ebola?

Unless you’ve stayed away from all news for the last few weeks (and who really can do that), you’ve heard about the current Ebola epidemic in Africa and cases in the U.S. Ebola is a life threatening disease that currently doesn’t have a vaccine to fight it. One question we’ve been asked recently is can mosquitoes, who transmit numerous disease worldwide, infect people with Ebola?

In short, the answer is no.

2bMosquitoes aren’t born with malaria, yellow fever, chikungunya, dengue fever or other mosquito-borne disease. Female mosquitoes become carriers of those diseases after feeding on a person or animal already infected (only females suck blood). Because mosquitoes don’t go person to person biting, the disease has to survive a complicated digestion process to be passed on.

The reason female mosquitoes require blood is to create eggs. A female mosquito will take in enough blood to properly nourish her eggs and then go and digest. After laying her eggs, she will then require more blood. For her to infect a human with the disease, the viral strands need to stay in the gut and migrate into the mosquito’s saliva. The mosquito injects saliva into its victims as they bite. In the case of malaria, it evolves in the mosquito before getting into the saliva.

Right now, Ebola cannot make its way into the mosquito saliva. And until it can, mosquitoes cannot transmit Ebola.

Despite not playing an active role in the spread of Ebola, mosquitoes are still the most dangerous animal on the planet, killing over 700,000 people each year. They kill approximately 600,000 by infecting them with malaria. While malaria isn’t a threat in the United States, mosquitoes still transmit west nile, dengue fever and chikungunya domestically.

At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients by greatly reducing their property’s mosquito population with our mosquito control services. Our trained applicators visit our clients’ properties every 2-3 weeks and spray the areas where mosquitoes are most likely to feed and live, like bushes and trees. The spray eliminates mosquitoes on contact as well as settles on the vegetation. When a mosquito then goes to feed on a leaf, it will ingest the product.

If you have questions on how to protect your property from mosquitoes, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

, , , , , ,

1 Comment

Vector-borne disease apparent early in 2014 season

At Mosquito Squad, we pride ourselves on protecting our clients from the annoyance and dangers of mosquitoes and ticks.  As the weather continues to warm up, we’ve seen an influx of requests for tick and mosquito control for the yard. And with news across the country of vector-borne disease, it is no surprise people are looking for ways to keep the bugs at bay.

kill mosquitos and ticks at commercial venuesJust last week, we discussed Chikungunya having been found in Florida and now new reports of dengue in the area have locals concerned over an outbreak. Dengue fever is a virus transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Symptoms of dengue include rash, fever and muscle and joint pain. While there is no specific medication for dengue, patients that are able to stay hydrated are able to fight the disease successfully.

While Florida is being hit by these tropical mosquito-borne disease, early mosquito and bird tests in Illinois are positive for West Nile in the area. Many municipalities across the country catch and test mosquitoes. It not only helps them gauge how much municipal spraying is needed, but it also lets them know if mosquitoes carrying certain bacteria are present.

With an increase of ticks in many areas of the country, officials are concerned about the growing numbers of Lyme disease as well.  From Michigan to Virginia to Vermont, local health officials are warning residents to be vigilant and take precautionary measures when spending outside in areas where ticks are known to be active.

Reducing your exposure to mosquitoes and ticks is the best way prevent vector-borne disease. At Mosquito Squad, we use a combination of mosquito spraying and tick tubes to cut down on the pest population on the property. Having continuous outdoor pest control, normally applied every 2-3 weeks, during the busy mosquito and tick months will reduce your mosquito population by 85-90%!

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from vector-borne disease, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Scared of Sharks? How about Mosquitoes?

We all have fears. I’m deathly afraid of snakes, while I know multiple people who won’t swim in deep water for fear of sharks. After looking at a new infographic from Bill Gates, it seems we should be thinking smaller as the deadliest animal on the planet is smaller than a quarter. It is none other than the mosquito.

A swarm of mosquitoesBill Gates’ blog post The Deadliest Animal in the World clearly illustrates how many people certain animals kill each year, and the data is staggering. The shark kills only 10 people a year, the hippopotamus 500, and snakes kill around 50,000 people a year. Humans come in second place, killing 475,000 people a year, but the pesky mosquito came in first by a landslide. Each year, 725,000 people die because of a mosquito bite.

While we in the U.S. are simply annoyed by itchy mosquito bites, they still carry and transmit numerous dangerous diseases. Malaria is by far the worst, killing someone every minute and, as Gates explains, malaria “threatens half of the world’s population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually” Source.

Bill Gates, who is a big supporter of Malaria No More, has donated a lot of time and money in fighting mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they transmit and not just malaria, but also dengue fever and West Nile Virus. Gates’ blog had “Mosquito Week” to bring attention to how serious they really are.

At Mosquito Squad, we are proud to fight against mosquitoes domestically and internationally. Internationally, we fight mosquito-borne disease through our relationship with Malaria No More.

Domestically, we fight the bite for our clients, allowing them to take back their yards and enjoy their outdoor spaces again. As the mosquito control experts, we offer a few different mosquito services:

  • Our traditional barrier spray is applied every 2-3 weeks to reduce the client’s mosquito population by 85-90%.
  • Mosquito Squad’s all natural mosquito treatment repels 85% of the mosquitoes with its smell (don’t worry, humans can’t smell it).
  • For clients having outdoor events, weddings, graduation parties, etc., we offer special events sprays to keep mosquitoes off the guest list.

If you have questions regarding the best mosquito control service for your home, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

Centers for Disease Control Warn Travelers of Chikungunya

Mosquito-borne diseases are present in any area of the country and world where mosquitoes are active. While the diseases they carry are different depending on the areas of the world, many of them are dangerous and debilitating. Earlier this week, the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning against a painful mosquito-borne illness for any U.S. travelers to the Caribbean.

Ten people in the Caribbean have recently been diagnosed with Chikungunya virus. The CDC says it is “very likely” to end up in the United States. As CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explains, “Microbes know no boundaries, and the appearance of chikungunya virus in the Western hemisphere represents another threat to health security. CDC experts have predicted and prepared for its arrival for several years and there are surveillance systems in place to help us track it.” Source.

Asian Tiger mosquito stripes on legs

Asian Tiger mosquito stripes on legs. These pests are carriers of the painful chikungunya virus.

The Asian tiger mosquito is a common carrier of Chikungunya. The tiger mosquito is easily recognizable by the black and white stripes on their legs.

Chikungunya symptoms can take days to display after being infected with the disease. Symptoms of the disease are very similar to those of dengue fever including a high fever, rash, headache, nausea and severe joint pain. The name Chikungunya comes from the Mankonde language and means, “that which bends up” because it can be very painful.

Chikungunya was first found in Africa but has been moving into Asia and Europe and now the Caribbean in recent years. So far there have been 109 travelers who have been diagnosed with Chikungunya in the United States and luckily it hasn’t spread since there.

With winter holidays and travel in full swing, the CDC issued a statement of warning: the “CDC estimated that about 9 million U.S. residents travel to the Caribbean each year. Given that volume of travelers, chikungunya could occur more frequently in returning U.S. mainland travelers if the virus expands in the region.” Source.

The CDC stated that it is possible for a single infected person to start an outbreak of the disease. While we aren’t in the height of mosquito season now, it will start again in just a few short months. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients from mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they carry with our mosquito control treatments. By treating your property for mosquitoes, your chances of being infected while spending time outside in your yard is decreased. If you have any questions, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Dengue Fever, Genetically Modified Mosquitoes and the Florida Keys

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that we don’t talk about too often, but it has made the news recently. Dengue is also known as the breakbone fever due to its severe muscle and joint pain and is considered a tropical disease that has, in the United States, been primarily found in Florida. In the last few weeks however, Texas and New York have reported cases of Dengue.

The Aedes aegypti is known to transmit dengue fever in tropical locations

The Aedes aegypti is known to transmit dengue fever in tropical locations

Dengue is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. The Florida keys have a large Aedes aegypti population and suffered a Dengue outbreak in 2010. Now, local employees are considering a new method of decreasing the mosquito population with mixed feedback.

Michael Doyle is director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD). Its goal is to control the mosquito population in the keys, an area that has the pests all year round due to its warm weather. Having tried pesticides and more natural solutions such as dragonflies (a mosquito predator) with little success, Doyle would like to introduce genetically modified mosquitoes to the area.

British bioengineering company Oxitec is the leader in genetically modified mosquitoes. They inject male Aedes aegypti with what is referred to as a suicide gene.  The gene prohibits the males’ offspring from maturing and kills them, thus cutting down on the mosquito population.

No MosquitoesIn 2009, Oxitec was criticized for releasing 3.3 million modified mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands without public consultation, however, the test displayed promising results. Since then, the company has expanded to Malaysia and Brazil.

When news that the city wanted to release modified mosquitoes in the Keys was announced, residents were anything but thrilled. They question the timing of such a radical step. The area hasn’t seen a dengue outbreak since 2010 and it seems too early to evaluate the long-term effects of genetically modified mosquitoes. As local resident, Mila del Mier stated, “why not keep the status quo and have more time for more studies?”

Doyle explains mosquito spraying isn’t as effective as they’d hope because municipal spraying cannot reach all the areas where mosquitoes hide.

We at Mosquito Squad are interested to see what comes from further tests of genetically modified mosquitoes. In the meantime, we will continue to protect our clients with our effective mosquito control spray. Our trained technicians focus on the areas where municipal spraying can’t reach, like heavy foliage on your yard.

If you have questions regarding professional mosquito control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Education During Mosquito Control Awareness Week

Next week, June 23rd through June 29th, 2013 is Mosquito Control Awareness Week, sponsored by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA). According to the AMCA, the goal of the week is to “educate the general public about the significance of mosquitoes in their daily lives and the important service provided by mosquito control workers.”

A swarm of mosquitoesAnyone who has been bitten by a mosquito knows they are annoying. The bites swell, can itch for days and, if you are like me, you’ll scratch them over and over again making them last longer. Knowing how bothersome they are is one thing, but understanding the dangers of mosquitoes is another.

Some people may not understand how dangerous mosquitoes can be. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet due to the diseases they transmit through their bites. We may not have a problem with malaria here in the United States anymore, but that doesn’t mean we are safe from mosquito-borne disease.

Last week we discussed West Nile virus and what to expect from this sometimes deadly disease, but with Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Dengue Fever, mosquitoes can make a lot of people ill in numerous ways. And let’s not forget our canine friends. Every year, dogs are infected with heartworm through the bite of a mosquito.

At Mosquito Squad, we often talk about our professional mosquito control services, but it is important for people to understand the best ways to protect themselves against mosquitoes when they leave their protected yard. The first step is to understand mosquitoes.

While they are most active at dawn and dusk, they are out and about at all times of the day. They are usually found in areas with more mature vegetation as they feed mainly on plants (female mosquitoes need blood meals to lay their eggs).

If you are going to enjoy the sun around some water, make sure that water isn’t stagnant. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, but the eggs won’t survive in moving water. They don’t usually travel far from their breeding grounds, so if there is a lot of standing water in a certain area, there will be a lot of mosquitoes.

Cover up. If you are going to be in an area where you know there will be mosquitoes, consider wearing a loose long sleeve shirt and pants. Loose clothing is harder for mosquitoes to bite you through.

kill mosquitos and ticks at commercial venuesWhen it comes to your backyard, your best protection is mosquito treatments for your yard. Mosquito Squad’s mosquito barrier spray kills adult mosquitoes on contact and provides 21 days of protection thereafter. By spraying the areas that mosquitoes are known to feed and live, we are able to get rid of 85-90% of mosquitoes on your property. If you aren’t satisfied with the results, we’ll come back and spray your yard again.

If you have any questions on Mosquito Control Awareness Week or how you can protect yourself and your friends and family from these annoying (an dangerous) pests, contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Mosquito Experiment to End Dengue Fever

Key West, the most southern tip of the continental U.S., is one step closer to experimenting with genetically modified mosquitoes to reduce the risk of dengue fever. And some residents and tourists don’t like it.

Dengue fever is a disease transmitted by the mosquito specie Aedes aegypti and is more common in tropical locations. Victims of the disease, also known as breakbone fever, display symptoms such as fever, headache, rashes and severe muscle and joint pain. It was thought to be eradicated in the Keys until 93 new cases emerged in 2009 and 2010 (source).

The Aedes aegypti is known to transmit dengue fever in tropical locations

The Aedes aegypti is known to transmit dengue fever in tropical locations

As a result of the influx of new dengue cases, mosquito control officials along with Oxitec, a British company, have filed a trial with the FDA to hopefully help with the problem. In the experiment, genetically modified male Aedes aegypti would be released in Key West to mate with females. The resulting eggs, however, would be unable to reach maturity due to a birth defect the male would pass on. They hope that after a few generations the mosquito specie would die off and eradicate the risk of dengue fever.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes have not only caused illness in Key West, but they are also a huge cost. They are a strong mosquito specie that is harder to kill with pesticides. Instead, Key West inspectors go door-to-door getting rid of standing water where they are known to breed. This process is both time-consuming and expensive, costing the district $1 million a year. “’Unfortunately, control of Aedes aegypti is a never-ending job,’ said Larry Hriber, the mosquito control district’s research director.” Source.

Key West residents and tourists alike are against the use of genetically modified mosquitoes. They worry that there hasn’t been enough background research done and that the modified material may somehow be passed on to humans or the ecosystem. One local real estate agent, Mila de Mier, posted a petition on change.org to fight the test and has received more than 115,000 signatures. “We are dependent here on our tourists, and people from all over the country have been sending the message,” says de Mier (source).

It may be years before the FDA rules on the whether or not Key West will be able to deploy the mosquito control test. At Mosquito Squad, we use effective mosquito control solutions to protect our clients against the annoyance of mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they may carry. If you have questions about how to protect your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

, , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: