Posts Tagged vector borne disease

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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Chikungunya Confirmed in Florida

Over the last 6 months, we’ve been following the news regarding chikungunya, a mosquito-borne disease that is most frequently found in Africa and Asia. In December, news began of its presence in the Caribbean and just a few weeks ago, we discussed how quickly it moved through Haiti. It seems to be moving north, with confirmed cases now in Florida.

2bA health official in Dade County, Florida recently confirmed the fourth case of chikungunya in the state. All of the patients had recently traveled to the Caribbean.

Chikungunya is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms typically begin three to seven days after the initial bite and include severe joint paint and fever. At this time there is no vaccine or medication to combat the disease, but it is rarely fatal.

The Centers for Disease Control have been warning of an American outbreak of chikungunya since December when it started growing in the Caribbean. At the time, they told travelers to be aware of the disease and be observant as they travel through the area. As so many bugs, and vector-borne disease spread through travel, the CDC issued a statement saying they expected the disease to come to the United States.

We at Mosquito Squad will be following the news regarding chikungunya and if it spreads to other parts of the country, but being proactive is always the best defense when it comes to vector-borne disease. It’s important that you take the necessary steps with effective mosquito control.

No MosquitoesThe first step in mosquito control is to minimize their breeding grounds on your property. Mosquitoes need standing water to mature and since they don’t tend to travel too far from where they hatch, getting rid of the standing water on your property will reduce your mosquito population.

Getting rid of the standing water on your property is just the first step to complete mosquito protection for your yard. Having a professional mosquito control company, like Mosquito Squad, visit your property every 2-3 weeks will greatly diminish the number of mosquitoes you see in your yard.

If you have questions regarding how best to protect you from mosquitoes and the illnesses they transmit, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Chikungunya Continues to Spread in Caribbean

Not even a year ago, we at Mosquito Squad became aware of a mosquito-borne illness that was growing in numbers in the Caribbean called chikungunya. The Centers for Disease Control warned travelers of the illness in December and stated that is was “very likely” to end up in the United States and now a new report from Haiti is illustrating how serious this disease can be.

Haiti reported their first chikungunya cases last week with 14 confirmed cases. Just one week later, health officials have confirmed over 1,500 cases!

mosquito controlChikungunya is transmitted through the bite of an affected Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same mosquito that transmits dengue fever and yellow fever. The Aedes aegypti is most common in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Chikungunya causes a high fever that will last several days as well as headaches, joint pain and rashes. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the disease at this time.

Chikungunya is most common in Africa and Asia. Like many other bugs and diseases, it was brought to the Caribbean through travel. Now that mosquitoes are entering their peak breeding months, it is imperative that locals and travelers protect themselves against mosquito bites as the number of cases could easily continue to rise.

We are often asked how a mosquito infects through their bite. Only female mosquitoes bite for blood as it is necessary to produce eggs. When she injects her proboscis into the skin, she releases saliva and anti-coagulants. The viruses or diseases that the mosquito carries are present in the saliva and are transmitted through the bite.

Not all mosquitoes transmit or carry disease, but it is smart to protect yourself from them when you can. At Mosquito Squad, we protect our clients with our mosquito treatments for the yard. For our seasonal clients, we visit the property every 2-3 weeks and treat the foliage and areas of the yard where mosquitoes are known to harbor. That mosquito control spray will eliminate the mosquitoes on contact and provide continuous protection for up to 21 days.

While professional outdoor pest control can reduce your mosquito population by 85-90%, you still need to protect yourself when you leave a treated property. We suggest wearing long, loose fitting clothing or spraying exposed skin with a DEET product.

If you have questions on how to protect yourself from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Getting Your Pet Ready for Spring

It's not a post about pets without a picture of Wiley. This big-earred pup can't wait for spring!

It’s not a post about pets without a picture of Wiley. This big-earred pup can’t wait for spring!

Warm spring weather is (hopefully) just around the corner. That means it’s time to move it outdoors and enjoy it! From hiking and walking to trips to the dog park, my furry friend, Wiley, and I spend as much time as we can outdoors when it is nice out. The warm weather doesn’t just bring green grass and flowers, however, it also means biting bugs that can harm people and dogs and cats, like fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

Just like humans, our beloved pets are at risk for vector-borne disease.

Fleas are one of the easier pests when it comes to determining their presence. Both dogs and cats are allergic to flea saliva and will scratch and chew when they have fleas. And just one flea can bite nearly 350 times in one day! While it is uncommon, fleas can transmit disease to dogs, cats and humans alike.

When it comes to ticks, your pet isn’t going to let you know that it has one because it doesn’t make them itch as much as flea bites. They may not look like they are being harmed or bothered by anything, but that may not be the case. Ticks transmit Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis dogs. There is even an illnesses called tick paralysis that can harm our four-legged friends.

When it comes to protecting your pets from flea and ticks, it’s about controlling the pests and being vigilant. Talk to your veterinarian about topical medications or collars. Additionally, there are flea and tick treatments for your yard that will help. At Mosquito Squad, our traditional barrier spray eliminates adult ticks on contact. We also have additional applications we use to combat ticks more aggressively as well as fleas. Even when your pet is protected with medication or yard treatments, they should be checked after spending time in areas where ticks and fleas are known to be. For example, Wiley had topical treatments, but still had ticks last year after hiking. If your dog or cat has a tick, remove it using tweezers and place it in a plastic bag in case it is needed for testing. If they have fleas, they will need a flea bath and you will need to check to see if your home needs to be sprayed.

When it comes to mosquitoes, they transmit one of the most dangerous vector-borne diseases for some animals: heartworm.  The roundworm travels to the heart where it matures and grows. If it isn’t treated, heartworm can be fatal. It is highly recommended that animals take a heartworm medication. It should be prescribed after a heartworm test has been done on the animal.

Symptoms of canine heartworm are coughing, not wanting to exercise, fainting and a rapid heartbeat. Feline heartworm symptoms include coughing, vomiting and depression.

Professional mosquito control will also help protect your pets from heartworm by cutting down on your property’s mosquito population. The mosquito spray that we utilize eliminates mosquitoes on contact and provides continued protection for up to 21 days.

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

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Mosquitoes Emerge in Warmer Weather, first case of West Nile in 2013

This past week has brought with it some warm weather on the east coast. I love spring and summer, the heat, the sunshine, being outdoors, it’s just an enjoyable time of year, except for one thing: mosquitoes.

When temperatures start to rise in the spring, mosquitoes begin to emerge and threaten to ruin our outdoor fun. For many parts of the United States, they’ve been active for several weeks now. Some of our Mosquito Squad locations are already out and about protecting yards from mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes need two things to reproduce: blood and standing water. Male mosquitoes do not bite, but instead only feed on plant proteins. Females, on the other hand, need the protein from blood to lay their eggs. They smell carbon dioxide and know they can find blood at the source. After a blood meal, the mosquito then needs standing water to lay its eggs, and it doesn’t need much. Up to 300 mosquito eggs can be laid in as much as a bottle cap full of water!

While the itch from bug bites is enough motivation to rid your yard of mosquitoes, they also carry and transmit dangerous diseases. Last year there was an increase in the numbers of confirmed West Nile cases in the US. The Centers of Disease Control reports a total of over 5,300 cases over 48 states. Symptoms can include fever, headaches, fatigue and joint pain. As a result, many states and municipalities are increasing their mosquito control efforts this year to help fight the spread of West Nile.

Despite enhanced efforts to fight the spread of West Nile and other vector-borne disease, Mississippi is reporting the first human case this year, a full two months before the first human case in 2012. Even with municipalities doing more to cut down the mosquito populations in public areas, homeowners should be protecting their properties from mosquitoes as well.

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

Dread Skeeter of Mosquito Squad

At Mosquito Squad, we offer our clients three residential mosquito control options:

  1. Our 21-day mosquito barrier spray program brings a trained applicator to your home once every three weeks. The spray is applied to the vegetation on your property where mosquitoes are known to feed and harbor.
  2. The barrier spray is also available in an all-natural version. As opposed to the standard barrier spray, the all-natural option should be applied to the property every two weeks.
  3. If you would like something more permanent, an installed mosquito control misting system may be a good option. The misting system emits small bursts of mosquito spray at times of the day when mosquitoes are most active.

As spring and summer begins, it’s important to make sure you can get the most out of your outdoor spaces. If you have a mosquito problem, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office. Dread Skeeter and his squad are sure to help!

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Animal Paralysis due to Ticks?

dog-tick-paralysisIf you read this blog, you know that I am a huge dog lover (come on, look at that face). I make sure that my four-legged companion is fed correctly, has the right amount of exercise and gets the necessary shots and medicine to keep him strong and healthy. There are some ailments, however, that are difficult, if not impossible, to prevent and one can be caused by the dreaded tick.

I recently read an article about a dog that started displaying disturbing symptoms. An otherwise healthy dog all of a sudden started losing control of her legs. Seeing the animal get worse, it ended up being diagnosed as tick paralysis and after removing more than 4 ticks from the dog, it was able to fully recover.

Tick paralysis is a relatively common illness that mostly affects cows and sheep, but has been known to affect dogs and some humans. Tick paralysis occurs when a tick attaches and feeds for an extended period of time. A female tick causes the disease with toxins in the salivary glands. Weakness in the legs is usually the first symptom and begins 2-7 days after the tick bite. The symptoms can worsen very quickly, spreading to the trunk and head within hours, but rarely ends in death.

The treatment for tick paralysis is simple: remove the attached tick. Unlike other vector-borne diseases, tick paralysis isn’t caused by a virus or bacterium that stays in the body long after the parasite is removed. Instead, it’s a chemical reaction to the tick, so when the tick is properly removed, the symptoms fade quickly.

Although it is most common in dog and Rocky Mountain ticks, over forty species of ticks are known to cause tick paralysis. The best way to protect your animals from the dangers of ticks is to protect them as best you can. Mosquito Squad’s barrier spray, misting systems and tick tubes are a few ways to protect your property and animals against ticks (and mosquitoes of course!). All of our services aim to get mosquitoes and ticks before they have the opportunity to bite.

Tick control in your yard isn’t always enough to protect some of your pets from ticks, especially dogs that may go hiking with their owners. For example, although I protect my property from ticks, I still give my dog a topical medication because we hike and walk in wooded areas where ticks are known to be. Additionally, it’s imperative that you check your animals for ticks on a daily basis during tick season to ensure they don’t have time to attach and transmit any dangerous diseases.

If you have questions regarding any of our tick and mosquito control services, reach out to your local Mosquito Squad office.

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Could the Asian Tiger Mosquito Cause Outbreak in 2013?

The Asian tiger mosquito is one of the most easily recognizable mosquito species due to its black and white stripes. They were first discovered in the U.S. in the 1980s and have grown in population ever since. Unlike many mosquito species, the Asian tiger mosquito is known to thrive in cities like New York and now Cornell University is studying whether or not the pest can lead to an outbreak of chikungunya in 2013.

Close-up of Asian Tiger Mosquito

Close-up of Asian Tiger Mosquito

Chikungunya is a vector-borne disease that has similar symptoms to dengue fever. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and headaches. Chikungunya is normally brought to the United States through travelers from Africa and Asia. Cornell University has been studying the disease and its possible growth in the U.S. through the Asian tiger mosquito.

Climate warming and international travel was looked at to see how it can affect the spread of Chikungunya through a computer model. The model shows that if one person carrying the disease is bitten by an Asian tiger mosquito, there is a high probability of an outbreak, in some areas affecting 1 in every 5,000 people. According to the prediction, outbreaks could occur in New York during August and September, in Atlanta from June to September and year-round in Miami. The Asian tiger mosquito will be a significant carrier of the disease due to its urban dwelling life.

There is no vaccine for Chikungunya at this time so health officials are urging travelers and homeowners to protect themselves by ridding areas of standing water and wearing long sleeves, pants and repellent at times when mosquitoes are most active. It’s important for those travelers leaving the country to also know the risk and symptoms of the areas they travel to.

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Asian Tiger Mosquito

While it will be interesting to see if Cornell’s predictions are correct, we at Mosquito Squad think it is always important to protect yourself from mosquitoes, ticks and the harmful disease they can spread. Asian tiger mosquitoes, like all mosquitoes, breed in standing water, and not just large bodies of water. Three hundred mosquito eggs can be laid in a puddle as small as a bottle cap! Make sure you empty any standing water from your yard at least once a week and more frequently when temperatures are warmer. Mosquito reproduction occurs more quickly in warmer temperatures.

Some properties will need professional mosquito control to rid the space of mosquitoes. For that, you have Mosquito Squad!

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