Archive for category West Nile Virus

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.

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Number of West Nile Cases Beginning to Rise

Over the last few weeks we’ve heard a lot about the chikungunya virus as more and more cases are diagnosed here in the United States. Although this new disease is dangerous and painful, other mosquito-borne diseases are still present. In particular, we’re headed into the peak of West Nile Virus season.

1aMosquitoes have been testing positive for West Nile for the last few months and now more and more human cases are being confirmed from California to Pennsylvania. Just this week a Texas man died with West Nile being reported as a contributing factor. Additionally mosquito spraying is being conducted in Montgomery County, Texas as a result.

The first US outbreak of the West Nile Virus occurred back in 1999 in New York. Since then, the Centers for Disease Control have been monitoring and reporting on the disease. Unlike chikungunya, the majority of West Nile patients are infected domestically (chikungunya victims are normally infected while travelling). 2012 brought the highest number of cases since the mosquito-borne disease since it began being tracked in the US with over 5,000 cases (just over 2,400 were reported in 2013).

No MosquitoesUnfortunately, there is no vaccine or cure for West Nile Virus. The vast majority of infected people will never even display symptoms, but when they do, they can be difficult. High fever, nausea, and aching are just some of the common symptoms of the disease. It tends to affect the young and old more dramatically.

At Mosquito Squad, we always say that the best way to protect yourself from mosquito-transmitted disease is to limit your exposure to mosquitoes. Reducing your property’s mosquito population is the first step. You can do that by ridding your yard of any standing water and hiring a professional mosquito control company. Our mosquito elimination services are reapplied every 2-3 weeks to the foliage where mosquitoes are known to feed and live.

When venturing out into non-treated areas, you’ll need to take additional precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Consider wearing loose long-sleeved shirts and pants and apply a DEET spray to the uncovered areas of the skin.

If you have questions on mosquito control, please give you nearest Mosquito Squad location a call. We’re happy to answer any questions.

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Mosquito Borne Chikungunya Continues to Spread

We are in the midst of mosquito season and a new mosquito borne virus continues to be reported across many parts of the U.S. Chikungunya, which was first reported in Florida in May, has now been diagnosed in Texas, Massachusetts, Arizona, Ohio and 22 other states. The average number of cases in the U.S. has been around 28 per year, but there have been over 120 cases so far this year, and we are in the height of mosquito season!

A swarm of mosquitoesIt’s believed that all of the American chikungunya cases have been transmitted to the patients while traveling abroad and hasn’t been transmitted in the U.S, but that could change. As the Centers for Disease Control explains: “With the recent outbreaks in the Caribbean and the Pacific, the number of chikungunya cases among travelers visiting or returning to the United States from affected areas will likely increase. These imported cases could result in local spread of the virus in the continental United States.” Source.

Chikungunya is most commonly found in Africa and Asia. This past fall, the Caribbean reported larger numbers of the disease, spreading throughout the area, illustrating how quickly it can spread.

Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or cure for chikungunya, but it is rarely fatal. Its symptoms include fever, severe joint pain and rashes. Symptoms occur in the first 12 days after transmission and, unlike West Nile, the majority of people with chikungunya will display symptoms.

When it comes to mosquito-borne disease, the best course of protection is an integrated pest management system, with both do-it-yourself and professional action. Reducing the amount of standing water is the first step in cutting down your property’s mosquito population. It takes just a little bit of water for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

No MosquitoesEven if you tip over outdoor objects or toss trash, it is incredibly difficult to get rid of all the standing water on your property, and even if you did, you will still have mosquitoes on site. A professional mosquito control company is the second step to protecting you and your family against mosquitoes and the illnesses they carry. By applying a mosquito spray to your property every 21 days, Mosquito Squad will greatly reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard (usually by 85-90%)!

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from mosquito-borne disease, please reference the CDC website at cdc.gov or contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Chikungunya Confirmed in more States

The newest vector-borne disease in the news and spreading rapidly in the Caribbean, Chikungunya, has now been confirmed in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. It’s believed that all patients contracted the disease while travelling abroad, but is a U.S. outbreak possible?

178503521The Centers for Disease Control has been vigilantly watching the disease and is concerned about the possibility of it spreading. Historically, around 25 Americans come back to the States each year after having been infected abroad. The current outbreak in Caribbean is what is cause for concern as it’s a haven for American tourists. If more travelers bring Chikungunya back to the U.S, the likelihood of an outbreak here increases.

West Nile was first brought into the United States by travellers before an outbreak occurred domestically.

Not all mosquito species can carry and transmit chikungunya. The Aedes mosquitoes are virus carrying and are known to transmit chikungunya, eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile, and dengue fever. They also happen to be present in all continents except Antarctica.

Chikungunya is typically not fatal, but symptoms can be uncomfortable and serious. Symptoms begin within 12 days of infection and include fever, joint pain and rashes. Recovery from the disease varies widely based on age, with elderly patients sometimes suffering for 2-3 months.

Protecting yourself from mosquitoes is the best way to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illness. At Mosquito Squad, we urge homeowners to remove any standing water on their properties to reduce the ability for mosquitoes to reproduce. Additionally, we protect our clients’ yards with professional mosquito control. Our trained technicians come to the property every 2-3 weeks to apply a mosquito spray that eliminates mosquitoes on contact and provides continuous protection. Clients can expect a 85-90% reduction in their property’s mosquito population.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from mosquito and tick-borne diseases, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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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.

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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.

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West Nile Virus, what to expect

Media from up and down the east coast and Midwest are reporting the presence of West Nile in mosquitoes and humans. As a result of last year’s record numbers, many municipalities raised their testing and mosquito spraying budgets to help combat the mosquito-borne disease, but what can we expect in the coming weeks?

Mosquitoes are out in full force right now. Many areas of the country had periods of heavy rainfall followed by hot weather, the perfect combination for mosquitoes. States like Georgia are reporting a higher number of mosquitoes this year as compared to last year.

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, but the victim may not display symptoms for a few weeks after the bite. Typically August is the worst month for West Nile Virus reports. Many of victims probably got the virus in July or even earlier. As more and more cities and towns, from Louisiana to Wisconsin to Massachusetts, report their first human West Nile case of 2013, the numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Eighty percent of people with West Nile virus will never display symptoms, known as a subclinical case. When symptoms do show, they are flulike, including fever, headaches, aches, nausea, etc. We are often asked what the difference between West Nile Virus and West Nile Fever. West Nile Fever is when patients start to display symptoms. There is currently no vaccine or medications to specifically treat or protect against West Nile, instead, the symptoms themselves are treated.

2It is believed that mosquitoes get the West Nile Virus from infected birds that they bite and then pass it along to other animals they get blood meals from. While mammals and reptiles are known to carry the disease, not all have reactions like humans.

The best way to protect against West Nile is to protect against mosquito bites and in a year that the population in many areas is on the rise, that can be difficult. There are things you can do on and off your property to decrease the chance for mosquitoes to bite you.

The first thing to do on your property is to get rid of any standing water. Mosquitoes can lay up to 300 eggs in as little water as a bottle cap, so imagine what they can do in a kiddie pool! Keep kids toys and dog dishes flipped over when they aren’t being used and pay attention to water that is pooling in different areas (like piles of leaves or tarps that aren’t pulled tightly). Getting rid of all the water can be extremely difficult, so consider having professional mosquito control. Mosquito Squad treats its clients’ properties every two to three weeks (depending on package and product) and rids the yard of 85 to 90% of mosquitoes.

Even if you have your yard treated, there will be times when you are off your property and you need to be protected then too. Try to stay inside when mosquitoes are known to be their most active (dawn and dusk). Wearing loose pants and long sleeved shirts make it more difficult for mosquitoes to bite you and you can use a topical mosquito repellent if you need to cover exposed skin.

For questions on professional tick and mosquito control, please reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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