Posts Tagged protect against west nile
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.
It 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.
The state of Pennsylvania recently reported that on May 3rd, it detected its first West Nile virus-carrying mosquito. The state started testing mosquitoes in 2000 and this year brought its earliest detection ever.
According to the Business Journals, “typically, the state’s first West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito is found in mid-June.” Adds the Department of Environmental Protect Secretary Mike Krancer “the unseasonably warm weather in March caused the virus cycle to begin early this year…our staff will continue to monitor mosquito populations and conduct spraying to reduce the threat to public health.”
Last year, the first West Nile Virus-carrying mosquito was found on May 17, 2011. From there it was found in 59 counties and six human infections were confirmed.
West Nile Virus is transmitted to humans via mosquito bites. It’s been reported that 100s of cases are diagnosed every year and according to the CDC, it’s estimated that 300,000 Americans have been ill due to West Nile Virus since it arrived in the United States 11 years ago. Symptoms, including high fever, headache, body aches and nausea, usually appear between 3 and 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Serious cases can lead to encephalitis or meningitis. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and if the virus is known to be present in the area. Older adults are more likely to become ill when infected with West Nile Virus.
There is no specific treatment for West Nile. Instead, the exhibited symptoms are treated. Unfortunately, there isn’t a vaccine to protect against West Nile in humans and domestic pets (there is one for horses). The best way to prevent infection is to prevent mosquito bites. At Mosquito Squad, we do that through our 5Ts of mosquito control.
Tip – Tip over small objects in your yard that hold standing water, including dog dishes and children’s toys. Mosquitoes breed in standing water; cutting down on the breeding grounds will reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard.
Toss – toss out excess grass, leaves and firewood from yards.
Turnover – Turn over larger items like bird baths and planter saucers periodically.
Remove Tarps – When tarps aren’t pulled tightly, they leave areas for small puddles where mosquitoes can breed.
Treat Accordingly – Getting rid of standing water won’t get rid of all the mosquitoes around your property. A mosquito control spray will protect your yard against mosquitoes for 21-days.
At Mosquito Squad, we are happy to help family enjoy their backyards without the threat of West Nile and other mosquito-borne diseases. If you are interested in how mosquito control can help you, please visit us online at MosquitoSquad.com or call your local Mosquito Squad office.