Posts Tagged Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Mosquito breeding season maybe over, but West Nile Virus is still a reality for many states in the US

Dread Skeeter Mosquito Control

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

It is the time of year when most people think that mosquitoes are a distant memory of summer past. West Nile Virus as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses and diseases don’t rear their ugly heads until the latter part of the mosquito season. The duration of the mosquito season varies from  state to state, but typically mosquitoes are active from April until October. As 2011 draws closer to an end the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released it’s findings for West Nile Virus for the present year-to-date  on November 29th, 2011.

The findings show that for 2011, there have been a total number of 658 reported cases of West Nile Virus in the United States so far. This number reflects both neuroinvasive as well as non-neuroinvasive cases reported. Out of the 658 reported cases of West Nile Virus, 452 of those cases were diagnosed as neuroinvasive.  Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus means that the disease affects the nervous system. This can include encephalitis which is inflammation of the brain and meningitis which is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord. Meningitis can also lead to acute flaccid paralysis which is an inflammation of the spinal cord. Non-neuroinvasive cases reflect those patients that display less acute signs of West Nile Virus.  In many instances the true number of those affected by non-neuroinvasive aspects of the disease can differ greatly from the actual number of reported non-neuroinvasive cases because a great deal of those infected do not seek medical attention when the disease is mild. In some of the mildest cases the patient many times does not even know they are infected. All of these numbers reflect both mild and severe cases confirmed as well as probable human disease cases occurring between January 1st, to November 29th, 2011.

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Some of the states that show the highest level of reported cases include California with 151 confirmed West Nile cases and 8 deaths as a result of the disease. Next in line are Arizona with 58 confirmed cases, Mississippi with 51, New York with 43 and Illinois and Michigan tie with 33 confirmed cases. Nationwide the total number of deaths attributed to the disease totals 40.  Only five states show non-human activity and those are Washington, Maine, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina.  There is only one state which has reported no West Nile Virus activity  either human or non-human for the year so far, and that is Maine.

This very important data  reminds us of the importance of reporting any symptoms of the disease early. The CDC’s  data also includes non-human infections and deaths reported by way of birds and other animals. If a high number of dead birds are reported in a specific geographical region it alerts the CDC and local health departments in that area to be on the alert for human cases that may present themselves.

Mosquito

The mosquito is responsible for this years current West Nile numbers

In all our efforts to prevent and control mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness, including nationwide, statewide and down to our own backyards we all hope each year that the impact of West Nile is less. These finding remind us that before we know long mosquitoes will begin breeding again and now is the time to plan for the upcoming season. The winter months give us a great opportunity to inspect our own surroundings and devise a mosquito control plan for the upcoming season to keep our families safe from mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile. Take time to inspect your property for areas that are prone to hold water such as lawn and patio furniture, children’s play areas, bird baths, planters left from spring blooms and even gutters to ensure they are free of debris. Check any screened areas or windows for damage or tears and have them repaired before spring arrives. Getting your property in tip-top shape before the arrival of the mosquito season will start a good habit and help keep you safe and bite free. Hiring a professional mosquito control company to ensure you are on schedule prior to the invasion of mosquitoes in April is also a great way to keep mosquitoes and the diseases they harbor out of your property and out of your life.

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Dead mosquito - Mosquito Squad kills mosquitoes dead

Mosquito Squad has a safe and effective way to keep mosquitoes and the risk of mosquito-borne illness out of your property. Our mosquito programs will begin at the dawn of the 2012 mosquito season. We offer a worry free mosquito control program that entails Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray service scheduled at regular intervals to kill and prevent mosquitoes all season long. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more. You can contact a Mosquito Squad location close to home by visiting our website at http://www.mosquitosquad.com/ContactUs.html

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Is our U.S. blood supply safe from insect-borne illness?

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad helps prevent tick bites by killing ticks in your yard

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad helps prevent tick bites by killing ticks in your yard

Is our United states blood supply safe from insect borne illness? Until just recently the answer, we all thought, would have been yes, but with the recent discovery of the tick-borne parasite Babesia being discovered  in our nation’s blood supply sending  a red flag as to just how vulnerable our blood supply is from insect-borne illnesses such as this. Babesia is the parasite which causes the disease Babesiosis which is similar to Malaria. Babesiosis has even been referred to as “America’s Malaria”. The disease itself can lead to anemia, organ failure and even death.

Symptoms of Babesiosis can be asymptomatic, and can display similarities with symptoms of the flu, colds or other common viral illnesses. Early on, many people do not even know they have the disease and therefore go about their normal everyday lives and usual routines, many of which may involve donating life saving blood to many organizations around the U.S. to help others.  Since there is no test to detect Babesia in a blood sample at the present time, donors are asked if they have ever had Babesiosis, and many infected aren’t even aware they have it, let alone even know what the disease is due to the lack of media and knowledge about the disease. Most people are aware of illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but when asked about Babesiosis, many people aren’t even aware it exists. This is certainly cause for concern and we need to make the public more aware of lesser known tick-borne diseases such as Babesiosis.

Is our blood supply safe from tick-borne parasites and disease?

Is our blood supply safe from tick-borne parasites and disease?

The Babesia parasite takes up residence within the red blood cells of its victims, and right now there is not a way to test the donated blood for the presence of the parasite. To date there have been 159 documented cases of Babesiosis which were caused by receiving blood transfusions which contained blood tainted with the parasite. In those 159 cases, 136 of them were tracked down. 30 of these cases were caused by 12 donors, because donated blood is split into red blood cells as well as platelets. The cases occurred in 19 states, but 87% of them were within the 7 states where Babesiosis  is considered to be endemic which are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Connecticut, and New York. These numbers however, reflect documented cases, with Babesiosis many cases go misdiagnosed or unreported because of the similarities with the symptoms of  common illnesses such as the flu. Officials are taking heed and public health authorities are stressing the growing risks of Babesiosis.

Small tick on finger

The tick is a vector of many illnesses and diseases, so small yet so dangerous.

So what can we do about this dilemma? Advocates ask for better testing to come forth to detect the presence of tick-borne parasites within the blood. As it stands now, if a physician diagnoses a patient with Babesiosis then he/she must report the information onto that states health department, which in turn is supposed to pass the information onto the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Of course, since the disease and parasite which causes the disease is caused by the tick, preventing being bitten or exposed to an infected tick is top priority as well. Common sense practices within your living areas and property and avoiding possible tick infested areas is an excellent way to avoid becoming a victim.

tick-tubes

This image shows tick tubes placed in the tick's environment for optimum results.

Common sense practices include increasing your knowledge of the tick-borne illnesses and their symptoms. Keep your property free of debris, heavy brush and tall grasses and keeping your property trimmed and mowed. Have a licensed professional treat your property. Conduct frequent examinations of your body and clothing after each visit outside. Shower immediately after exposure to outside areas where ticks can reside. Instilling the use of tick tubes, or other tick abatement practices if you reside within areas with heavy tick populations can also cut your risk of exposure significantly.

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad stops ticks dead in their tracks

Mosquito Squad offers a wide range of tick control services including the use of tick tubes and barrier sprays for your property. Contact Mosquito Squad to learn more about killing and preventing ticks in and around your property, and reduce your risk of infection from tick-borne illnesses and disease.

804.353.6999 • info@mosquitosquad.com

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