Spring is here and summer is just around the corner where the heat and humidity will be in full swing. Unfortunately, so are the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can be found all across the United States, and they are not only a nuisance - they can also transmit diseases.
The most common mosquito-borne illness in the United States is West Nile virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 958 cases of West Nile virus reported in 2020. Some symptoms of the West Nile virus include a fever and headaches, body aches, and skin rash to name a few.
Another mosquito-borne disease that has been making headlines recently is Zika virus. Although Zika virus is not as common in the United States as it is prevalent in other countries and there were still 49 cases reported in 2020. Zika virus can cause birth defects in babies whose mothers were infected during pregnancy.
In addition to West Nile virus and Zika virus, mosquitoes can also transmit other diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, and eastern equine encephalitis. Symptoms of these diseases can range from mild to severe and can include fever, joint pain and in some cases, death.
So, what can you do to protect yourself from mosquito-borne illnesses? The CDC recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, using insect repellent, and eliminating stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as just a teaspoon of water! So be sure to take a close look around your yard and eliminate any areas where water may be pooling.
It is important to note that not all mosquitoes are created equal. Some species of mosquitoes are more likely to transmit diseases than others. For example, the Aedes aegypti mosquito is the primary transmitter of Zika virus, while the Culex mosquito is the primary transmitter of West Nile virus.
In conclusion, while mosquitos can be a pesky annoyance during the summer months, they can also pose serious health risks. By taking precautionary measures such as wearing long-sleeved clothing when possible and using insect repellents whether on your person or external around your property, we can protect ourselves and our families from mosquitoe-borne illnesses.
written and edited by: Daniel Giachetti