According to the World Mosquito Program, over 390 million people are infected with mosquito-borne diseases each year. While the percentage of Americans impacted by mosquito-borne diseases is low, the transmission rate can change drastically.
In 2016, the number of mosquito-borne disease cases rose by 716% compared to the previous year (47,461 vs. 5,819) in the United States due to the Zika virus. Although those cases have fallen back to previous numbers, it is still possible that a disease outbreak could cause another uptick.
In many cases, mosquitoes are more than pests and can potentially become dangerous. Check out these facts about mosquito-borne illnesses so you can protect yourself.
The Different Types of Mosquitoes
There are three categories of mosquitoes that can spread disease, each that are a known carrier of specific illnesses. The Aedes, commonly referred to as the yellow fever mosquito, is known to carry yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus. Culex, also known as the house mosquito, spreads West Nile Virus, and Anopheles mosquitoes carry and spread Malaria. The most common mosquitoes in the United States are the Culex and Aedes.
How Do Mosquitoes Transmit Diseases?
mosquitoes are known as vectors, which are living things that carry diseases between animals and humans. They transmit diseases by biting a living organism infected with an illness,carrying the disease to someone else and then infecting the next person through their bite. When mosquitoes bite someone, they pass their saliva into the living thing’s bloodstream, thereby infecting them with the disease they are carrying.
Diseases Commonly Carried by Mosquitoes
As mentioned above, the most common diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, Zika, West Nile Virus, and Malaria. According to the Cleveland Clinic, here are the typical symptoms and where they can be found:
- Chikungunya – Found on most habitable continents. Symptoms include fever, joint pain, and rashes.
- Dengue – Found in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and Europe. Symptoms may include fever, headaches, joint pain, and nausea.
- Malaria – Found primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa regions, accompanied by fever, headache, and vomiting. It is important to note that Malaria can be fatal.
- West Nile – Primarily concentrated in Africa, North America, West Asia, Europe, and the Middle East regions. West Nile can cause headaches, fever, convulsions, neck stiffness, and comas. It can also be fatal.
- Yellow Fever – Found in Africa and Latin America, and includes symptoms such as headache, muscle pain, and vomiting. Yellow Fever can also be fatal.
- Zika – Concentrated in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and Europe. Zika causes irritated eyes, headaches, muscle pain, and mild fever. It’s also known to harm unborn children.
How to Protect Yourself from Mosquito-Borne Diseases
While cases of mosquito-borne illnesses are low in the United States, it’s vital that you protect yourself from mosquito bites to lower your chances of infection. The CDC recommends finding a repellent with active ingredients like Deet, Picardin, IR3535, Lemon Eucalyptus Oil, Para-methane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Additionally, it is important to read the label of the repellant and follow the directions.
Lastly, take steps to keep mosquitoes at bay. We suggest the use of screens and windows indoors, removal of any container holding stagnant water, and closing any holes in your home.
If pests like mosquitoes have overtaken your property, the Turin Pest Control team can help. Once we know about the issue, we can create a strategy to help protect your home and yard from pests like mosquitoes.