Posts Tagged West Nile Fever

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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West Nile Virus can turn into a dangerous neuroinvasive disease, with lasting effects.

Mosquito

This little mosquito is responsible for much disease and devastation worldwide than one could ever imagine.

The mosquito-borne illness West Nile virus is a serious concern again this summer all across the country. What you may not know is that according to the CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) one out of 150 people infected with West Nile Virus will develop a more severe form of the disease. This includes development of West Nile Encephalitis, West Nile Meningitis and West Nile Fever.

West Nile Encephalitis and meningitis are closely related to St. Louis Encephalitis, which is also seen here in the US. West Nile Encephalitis is commonly seen in Western Asia, throughout the Middle East and in Africa. It can infect  mosquitoes, humans, horses, birds and other mammals. Scientists believe West Nile Virus which can lead to West Nile Encephalitis  has been in the US since approximately 1999.

West Nile Fever is an asymptomatic outcome to contracting West Nile Virus and can have symptoms that range from fever, chills, and sweats to a stiff neck, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. West Nile fever portrays symptoms that closely mimic those of the annual flu here within the US. For that very reason, many cases go unreported and misdiagnosed. Symptoms of West Nile fever usually resolve within 7-10 days ( much like the flu) but the fatigue and swollen lymph nodes can persist for up to two months.

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

Photo of West Nile Virus under a microscope

The more serious  neuroinvasive diseases , like West Nile Encephalitis and Meningitis,  can attack the nervous system of those infected.  The typical incubation period of West Nile Virus is usually between 2 to 15 days. In cases where West Nile turns into a neuroinvasive disease such as West Nile Encephalitis or West Nile Meningitis symptoms can last for months and leave  permanent neurological damage.

Encephalides , such as West Nile Encephalitis cause an inflammation of the brain. Meningitis affects the membrane surrounding the brain as well as the spinal cord by causing both to swell. These two diseases can be life threatening in the elderly and those with compromised systems. Symptoms of West Nile Encephalitis and West Nile Meningitis include a high fever, severe headache, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and even coma. An individual that displays any of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Mosquito_Squad_spraying_your_yard

Mosquito Squad spraying your yard to guard against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile.

Although there is no vaccine or specific treatment for West Nile Virus, precautions can be taken to minimize your risk of contracting West Nile or one of the neuroinvasive counterparts of the illness. The first and foremost step is protecting yourself from the source of the illness- the mosquito. Complete avoidance of areas where mosquitoes could be present is not realistic, but keeping the area you spend the most time in and around, which is usually your home and yard mosquito-free is within the grasp of reality. Taking control of your own property is by far the best defense against being bitten by a potential disease carrying mosquito. Keeping your property in your control, and not letting mosquitoes get the upper hand is easier than you may think.

The first weapon in taking control of your yard is to eliminate all areas where mosquitoes can breed and flourish, this includes any open containers which can harbor moisture, cleaning up debris piles, keeping your gutters clean and free of debris and keeping your lawn cut and trimmed. If your home contains screened areas, whether it is a porch or windows, regular inspections to make sure there are no rips, tears or separated screens is vital to ensure mosquitoes do not enter your living areas. Having your property treated by a licensed professional is also an important step to maintain a mosquito free residence and property.

Mosquito Squad keeps you and your family mosquito free

Mosquito Squad keeps you and your family mosquito free

Mosquito Squad can also help you take control of your property by the convenience of their season-long mosquito control. We can apply our safe and effective barrier sprays to kill and prevent mosquitoes from entering the treated premises at regular scheduled intervals throughout the mosquito season. These scheduled sprayings ensure you are receiving the utmost mosquito control available. Mosquito Squad also offers an automatic mosquito misting system that is installed on your property and emits timed sprayings throughout the day. You can contact Mosquito Squad to learn more about their worry free and convenient mosquito preventives and deterrents  which ensure your safety and give you peace of mind.

Contact Mosquito Squad at 804.353.6999 • info@mosquitosquad.com and put an end to the battle each summer against mosquitoes, ticks and the diseases they carry.

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