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Bill Gates has long been a supporter of malaria eradication and research, but in a recent speech at Association of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene he once again brought it back into the spotlight.
Melinda and Bill Gates made their first call for malaria eradication 7 years ago alongside the World Health Organization. Since then, the Gates Foundation has made large donations to help the cause while spreading the word through speeches, blogs, etc. (don’t you remember when Gates released mosquitoes during a speech in 2009?).
While Gates addressed ebola (which is on everyone’s mind) in his speech at ASTMH, the majority of his time was spent discussing malaria because of his hope for the future. He explains in his blog that “based on the progress I’m seeing in the lab and on the ground, I believe we’re now in a position to eradicate malaria – that is, wipe it out completely in every country – within a generation.” Source.
Because of their optimism, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation is increasing its donation to the malaria cause by 30%.
What many people don’t realize, is that malaria was an issue in the majority of the world not too long ago. It wasn’t eradicated from the United States until the 1950s, and that is without the knowledge and science that we have now. This video from Bill Gates’ blog is a great representation of where the disease was, where it is now, and where we’re going:
Mosquito Squad is a proud supporter of Malaria No More. We’re dedicated to seeing an end to malaria deaths and we’re seeing great progress. In the four short years we’re partnered with Malaria No More, we’ve seen the number of deaths in Africa decrease by 50%!
Malaria No More helps fight malaria by providing prevention, treatment and education to the areas of Africa most affected by this disease. Please help us in the fight by donating to Malaria No More at SwatMalaria.net.
From time to time we see the news of a new animal or bug entering the U.S. Some don’t thrive well in our eco-system and habitat while others, like the stink bug, blossom in the new conditions. When it comes to mosquitoes, we’ve seen that a large number of species can thrive in the states and we’re now watching a new one: the Aussie Mozzie.
The Aedes notoscriptus is an Australian mosquito species with the nickname the Aussie Mozzie. It was found in the Los Angeles area of California in June, its first ever spotting in the United States. As the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District’s spokesman Jason Farned explains: “in Australia this mosquito is very widespread and capable of transmitting several viruses.” Source.
The Aussie Mozzie is described to have similar characteristics as the Asian tiger mosquito. The Asian tiger mosquito received notable attention a few years ago as its population boomed. Both the Asian tiger and Aussie Mozzie are most likely to bite during the day (most mosquitoes bite around dusk and dawn). They are known city dwellers that lay their eggs in containers.
Like many other mosquito species, the Aussie Mozzie infects humans and animals with disease including the Barmah Forest and Ross River viruses. Both viruses can be serious, but are non-lethal. Their symptoms include joint pain, rashes and fever.
In addition to transmitting mosquito-borne disease to humans, the Aussie Mozzie also infects dogs with heartworm. Heartworm is one of the most serious illnesses a dog can face. Heartworm is a parasite that settles and grows in the heart and lungs of its host, most commonly the dog. Dogs with heartworm may display symptoms through coughing, exhaustion, weight loss and fainting. Once diagnosed, dogs have to through a series of treatments to kill and get rid of the heartworm that could take several months.
Currently only a few Aussie Mozzies have been confirmed in California. Homeowners in the areas have been encouraged to report any day biting mosquitoes so they can be tested. As the mosquito control experts, we at Mosquito Squad will stay on top of the news and let you know everything there is to share.
For this week’s blog, I’ve asked our chairman and CEO, Chris Grandpre, to reflect on his recent trip with Malaria No More to Kenya. His experience was amazing…
It’s been an odd transition this week back to the normal daily routine. Late last week, I returned from a trip to Kenya where I was able to see firsthand the impact that Mosquito Squad is making in the fight against needless and preventable malaria deaths in Africa.
I’m still battling being really tired after not sleeping on the 38-hour trip back. In addition, I find myself missing Africa and the incredible camaraderie of our traveling group that included:
- Patrick & Kathy McKennon, Mosquito Squad of Nashville
- Martin Edlund, CEO – Malaria No More
- Mark Allen, Managing Director of Africa Programs – Malaria No More
- Stevan Miller, Chief Development Officer – Malaria No More
- Kelly Fleming, Development Associate – Malaria No More
It was phenomenal to see the work of Malaria No More on the ground in a beautiful country, but a country also clearly dealing with a tremendous lack of infrastructure and severe poverty issues. It really helped put into perspective how incredibly fortunate that we all are here in the States.
Our experience included participating in meetings in Nairobi with Malaria No More’s team in Kenya along with staff from the Clinton Health Alliance Initiative, an organization focused on fostering coordination between government and global health organizations. While malaria is a significant problem in Kenya where over 34,000 children die every year, the country is also dealing with other major health risks such as yellow fever, polio, typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis.
We learned how global health organizations work together and in concert with the government to implement programs to educate, prevent, diagnose and treat these major health issues. In countries lacking infrastructure and modern communications systems, it is extremely challenging to implement programs across vast areas dotted by remote villages.
We also had the opportunity to travel across the country and visit some of the remote villages. Our most memorable day was one spent in the village of Chebunyo. After many hours of rough travel on unpaved roads, we spent a day touring the local medical clinic and learning about their efforts to educate the villagers about malaria as well as diagnose and treat cases when necessary.
We delivered bed nets to a number of mothers with newborns in the village and we installed nets in several homes/mud huts. It was an extremely rewarding experience, especially as we watched the kids gleefully dive under the nets as soon as we finished hanging them.
Despite the primitive living conditions, the warmth and happiness of the people in Chebunyo was striking. I will always remember the huge smiles on the kids’ faces as we took their pictures.
I was able to see firsthand the impact that Mosquito Squad and Malaria No More are having in Africa. Malaria deaths have declined nearly 50% over the last five years. We heard this both at the macro level in Nairobi and from the team at the medical clinic in Chebunyo. Fewer children are dying today as a result of increased efforts.
To help us continue to fight malaria, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.
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.
Mosquitoes 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).
Unfortunately, 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.
Ticks. They lurk in hidden places waiting for a potential host to walk by. In the spring and summer, it’s best to make a habit of checking yourself and your pets for ticks if you spent any time outdoors. A recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the Centers for Disease Control evaluated how the tick population is related to weather temperatures.
Ticks thrive in warm weather and their activity rises as temperatures rise over 50 degrees. When there is an above average amount of days over 50 early in the year, the population becomes active earlier and the peak tick season, which typically begins in late May, starts earlier. If there is a lot more precipitation than normal, that will postpone the beginning of the tick season.
The changes in weather also impact ticks through their primary blood host, the field mouse. Mice feed on the vegetation in their habitat. When the summer is exceptionally dry it results in less food for the mice, which means less mouse activity and less ticks.
The study explains that a tick forecast could be created each March after looking at the weather in the first ten weeks of the year, but little can be done to forecast when the end of tick season will be.
Ticks are a common concern for many people. Not only are they a nuisance, but they are also dangerous. Thousands of cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC each year and it is impacting more of the county each and every year. If you ever go for walks or hikes in areas where ticks are known to be active, it’s important to protect yourself. Wear long loose clothing preferably in light colors so ticks can be spotted. After coming inside make sure to do a thorough tick check of your body to make sure that none are hiding out.
At Mosquito Squad we help our clients protect themselves from ticks and the dangerous illnesses they transmit by protecting their yard. We utilize a combination of our barrier spray treatment and tick tubes when appropriate.
Our traditional mosquito control spray is effective against ticks too. The spray will eliminate adult ticks on contact. We suggest having that spray reapplied every 2-3 weeks depending on your mosquito and tick problem to provide continuous tick control. Additionally, we use tick tubes to eliminate ticks in their earlier stages of development. Tick tubes are placed throughout the property in areas where mice would travel. When the mice find the tube, they take the treated cotton that’s inside back to their nests as bedding. Since many nymph ticks get their first blood meal from mice, they are thus eliminated.
If you have questions on how to reduce the tick population on your property, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.
For many of us pet lovers, our pets become true members of our family. It’s nice to have them around us in the summer when the weather is nice, however, summer does bring with it some safety concerns for pets. Here are some safety tips to keep Fido safe this summer.
Don’t forget the leash. If you are like me, you like to have your dog off leash as much as you can. In the summer, it’s always important to have a leash on hand, even if you are in a fenced in area. Dogs are naturally curious, which can be unsafe. They can easily fall into pools (not all dogs swim well) or get too close to the grill and food. Leashing your dog when he/she is beginning to wander into areas they shouldn’t is a great way to keep them safe.
Clean up. Make sure to put away outdoor supplies when they aren’t being used. The charcoal you cook with, for instance, may make your food taste great, but it can also make your pet ill if they get into it. Make sure items like charcoal, matches, sprays, and other supplies are out of your pet’s reach.
Keep them out of the heat. Dogs and cats can overheat easily when the weather is hot. Make sure your pet isn’t left alone outside (or worse, in a card) when the weather is warm. Even in shade, dogs can become dehydrated and overheat. Try getting up early to walk your dog in the morning before the heat begins.
Water up! Dogs and cats can become dehydrated easily. Check and fill their water dish more frequently in the summer months. If you are taking your dog to an outdoor event, make sure there is some fresh water available or pack some with you.
Groom them! Proper grooming can provide dogs and cats with some reprieve from hot weather. While you should never shave a dog or cat, animals with long hair can be trimmed, or at least brushed more often to get rid of unneeded fur.
Watch out for pests. It’s great to spend time outdoors with your pets in the summer, but it is also when outdoor pests are most active. Take to your veterinarian about how you can protect your pet from fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they carry. At Mosquito Squad, we help protect your furry friends by reducing your yard’s pest population. If you have questions or are interested in protecting your pet with Mosquito Squad, please call your local office.