Mosquito bites can be more dangerous than you think.
Many might not be aware that mosquitos can leave more than an irritating bite. There are several diseases that humans are at risk of contracting from mosquitos, the most common ones found specifically in Florida include:
- West Nile virus (WNV)
- Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE)
- St. Louis encephalitis (SLE)
And in 2014, the first case of Chikungunya found its way to the Sunshine State.
There are several other mosquito-borne diseases found in different parts of the country and the world that can be brought to Florida if infected people carry them down. These include dengue fever, yellow fever, malaria and Rift Valley Fever. In recent years, the rate of infection has drastically risen and scientists have expressed concerns that global warming will cause more growth of mosquito-borne diseases worldwide. So what do you need to know to keep yourself and your family safe?
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is among the most serious of mosquito-borne viruses that can affect the central nervous system, causing severe complications and potentially leading to death. EEE is found in the swampland in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states in the eastern part of North America, Central and South American and the Caribbean. EEE cannot be transmitted from humans or other mammals, so they are known as “dead-end hosts.” Symptoms can range from none to flu-like illness, severe headache and, more severely, seizures and coma. There is no current treatment for EEE and a vaccine is available for horses, but not humans.
West Nile Virus (WNV)
West Nile virus (WNV) first emerged in 1937 in Uganda and didn’t make its way to the US until 1999 in NY, with 62 confirmed cases and 7 human deaths. By 2001, 66 human cases had been reported through 10 states, including Florida. As of 2014, there have been 36,437 cases of WNV according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these, 1,538 were fatal. Since the first detection, human cases have been reported in all US states excluding Alaska and Hawaii. The virus is now considered widespread in the US, with peak periods occurring in the summer months.
St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)
Before the initial detection of the West Nile Virus in the US in 1999, St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) was considered the most common mosquito-borne diseases in the US. SLE is found throughout the United States, most often along the Gulf of Mexico, especially in Florida. In the early 1960s, 1977 and 1990, major SLE epidemics occurred throughout Florida. Symptoms are comparable to ones seen in EEE patients and, also similar to EEE, there is currently no vaccine. In 2014, two human cases of SLE were reported, the first since 2003. This virus is most prevalent in the elderly and those with weak immune systems.
Chikungunya was first identified in the 1950s in East Africa. It wasn’t until approximately 10 years ago that chikungunya was reported to have spread to India, and then to northern Italy. Now, over 70 countries have reported exposure to the virus, including the United States. Just last year, the CDC reported the first case of chikungunya had made its way to Florida and there has been only one additional case since then. These occurred in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Although the virus is not deadly, it can cause painful symptoms that can last weeks. The elderly and those with weak immune systems are more susceptible to severe symptoms.
What can you do to protect yourself from mosquitos and their diseases?
- Drain standing water; this is where mosquitos breed
- Cover doors and windows with screens; this prevents mosquitos from entering the home
- When going outdoors, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; long sleeves and pants are especially recommended
But what if the outdoors is just your own backyard?
You shouldn’t have to be uncomfortable to go outside and enjoy it. One of the most effective ways to prevent mosquito bites is to banish the mosquitos from the outdoor areas you want to enjoy.
Platinum Mosquito Protection can outfit your home with a mosquito misting system that prevents mosquitos and other annoying, disease-carrying insects from your backyard. Unlike other misting systems, we use a natural, water-based, biodegradable insecticide called Pyrethrum. It leaves no oily residue like other systems and is one of the safest, fastest acting insecticides available.
Contact us today and we’ll evaluate your home for a system that lets you enjoy life without mosquitos® and their diseases.