Category Archives: Mosquito illnesses

Protection from Mosquitoes

Last month we discussed the many mosquito-born illnesses that pose a threat to humans during the warm summer months and well into the fall. This month, we are discussing some common sense methods to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquitoes in order to not only avoid the itchy bumps of their bite, but also to protect yourself from diseases and viruses. Here are a few methods that you should make a regular part of your family’s routine to protect yourselves from mosquito bites.

 

  • Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care about yard treatment plans to reduce and in some cases eliminate mosquitoes from your area.
  • Wear mosquito repellent.  We recommend repellents containing 30% to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) for adults and children over 2 months of age. We also recommend repellents containing up to 15% picaridin, which must be applied often.
  • Dress for protection. Clothing that are light colored and cover all parts of your skin is preferred. Many people choose, even in the heat of the summer, to wear lightweight long sleeves and long pants to avoid bites. Repellents or insecticides, such as permethrin, can be applied to clothing and gear for added protection. The more skin that is exposed to a bite, the greater the possibility of getting a bite.
  • Be aware of time. According to the Centers for Disease Control, mosquitoes may bite at any time of day, peak biting activity for vectors of some diseases (such as dengue and chikungunya) is during daylight hours. Vectors of other diseases (such as malaria) are most active in twilight periods (dawn and dusk) or in the evening after dark.

 

If you want more information about mosquitoes in your area, call Pro-Tech Lawn Care to discuss treatment methods.

Mosquito Born Illnesses

Mosquito born illnesses have been highlighted in the news prominently over the past year since the fear of the Zika Virus last year brought the issue to the forefront. The New England region sees its fair share of mosquito illnesses with two in particular that are concerning.

Mosquitoes in our region can spread to both the West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). People can get WNV or EEE when an infected mosquito bites them. Mosquitoes get these diseases by biting infected birds, but people cannot get WNV or EEE from birds. Most people bitten by infected mosquitoes experience no symptoms or mild symptoms, but some can develop serious disease.

 

  • West Nile Virus – Most people (70-80%) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).The symptoms of neurologic illness can include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures, or paralysis. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis – Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare illness in humans, and only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Systemic infection has an abrupt onset and is characterized by chills, fever, malaise, arthralgia, and myalgia. The illness lasts 1 to 2 weeks, and recovery is complete when there is no central nervous system involvement. Unfortunately, approximately a third of all people with EEE die from the disease.

 

In our past blogs we have discusses taking precautions against being bitten including: using repellent, dressing in light clothing that covers your arms and legs, and avoiding being outdoors during the peak times of of dawn and dusk. Pro-Tech Lawn Care also recommends having your yard treated for mosquitoes that could carry these illnesses.

 

Are Mosquitoes Feasting on you?

Every year, a memo has gone out to the mosquitoes that I am outside and  ready to be eaten alive! It is like I am an “all you can eat buffet” for these pests.  Do you feel the same way? If you are also a feast for mosquitoes, here are a few tips to stop the madness and avoid those itchy bites this mosquito season.

 

  • Call Pro-Tech Lawn Care to discuss treatment options for your backyard and surrounding property. This program includes monthly treatments throughout the active season for ticks, mosquitoes and other flying insects. This comprehensive program is designed to provide your property with maximum protection.
  • Dress for Protection – Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors so wear light tones and cover arms and legs when possible. Long loose fitting shirts and pants can be helpful in deterring a mosquito from landing on our skin.
  • Evaluate your Yard – If you have standing water do whatever you can to rid your yard of it including children’s toy pails, pools and other items. This is where mosquitoes breed so do yourself a favor and prevent the breeding from occurring on your property.
  • Avoid Peak Times – Dawn and dusk are peak mosquito times, so avoid being outside at those times if at all possible.
  • Avoid Sweat and CO2 – Obviously we all have to breath out to survive, but try to stay indoors immediately after exercising for two reasons. One is that expulsion of CO2 attracts mosquitoes and heat and sweat also can be a magnet for these pests.
  • Personal Protection – If you choose to use a repellant spray to protect yourself and your family choose one that has deet or picaridin.

 

If you are interested in stopping the mosquito feast call Pro-Tech Lawn Care today for treatment options.

Will Zika be a Problem this Spring and Summer?

Last year when Zika, (the virus associated with birth defects and microcephaly), became a clear threat to humans in South America and Central America, scientists used computer models along with the assistance of meteorologists and entomologists to predict where local transmission of Zika in the continental United States was most likely to occur. As of today, the only documented cases of viral transmission from a mosquito to a human in the continental United States have taken place in southern Florida and Brownsville, Texas. That’s precisely what the best models indicated.

 

According to Science Insider, “If history repeats itself, as winter approaches and cold weather reduces populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito—Zika’s main vector—this transmission likely will stop and resurface late next spring.”

 

Does that mean that there will be fewer mosquitoes with the zika virus in the spring or emerge stronger than ever? Tropical mosquito varies, such as the ones carrying the dreaded Zika virus, perish in cold temperatures. Unfortunately, the strains inhabiting the Mid-Columbia are made of sterner stuff. We will all have to wait until the spring weather begins in earnest to see what the results will be. Spring weather plays a bigger role in determining if mosquito eggs hatch and become breeding adults. Mosquito eggs hatch when the temperatures rise. But a warm up followed by another freeze could kill the larvae before they can mature and mate. Or the weather could simply warm up enough to produce hatching and stay that way.

 

The Center for Disease Control still maintains recommendations if traveling into a zika prone area including:

  • Travel information from the CDC including maps and strategies
  • Talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider first, if you must travel to an area with Zika.
  • Prevent mosquito bites, including covering up arms and legs and using EPA-registered insect repellent, which is safe to use during pregnancy.
  • Use latex condoms, the right way, every time or choose not to have any type of sex if the male partner has been in an area with Zika during the pregnancy.

CDC Update on Mosquito-borne Diseases

Mosquitoes are much more than an itchy annoyance while entertaining outdoors. Mosquitoes have the potential to make you really sick. The Centers for Disease Control has instituted the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD) which strives to protect the nation from bacterial and viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas. The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) monitor the mosquito-borne diseases by location, transmission and mortality rate.

 

The WHO reports that out of all the disease-transmitting insects, the mosquito is the greatest menace, spreading malaria, dengue and yellow fever, which together are responsible for several million deaths and hundreds of millions of cases every year. One of the most startling statistics is that over 1 million people die from mosquito-borne diseases every year, and hundreds of millions more experience pain and suffering from illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes. Malaria, the most widespread mosquito-borne disease, affects 350-500 million people each year.

 

The CDC reports that there are three main diseases specific to the United States. These include: West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and chikungunya.

 

  • West Nile Virus (WNV): WNV is the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes to humans in the United States. While most infected people will have no symptoms, roughly one in five will develop symptoms that may include a combination of fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, or swollen lymph nodes. Other symptoms may include a stiff neck, sleepiness, disorientation, or even paralysis. In 2015, 48 out of 50 states reported WNV infections in people, mosquitoes, or birds. In those states, 2,060 cases of WNV were reported in humans, and there were 119 confirmed deaths (5.8%) in 2015.
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE): EEE is also transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, but is, fortunately, a rare illness for humans, with only a few cases reported in the United States each year. Although some people infected with EEE have no apparent illness, severe cases of EEE lead to inflammation of the brain, often beginning with a high fever, headaches, and vomiting. The illness will often progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma. EEE is a severe mosquito-transmitted disease, with about a 33% mortality rate.
  • Chikungunya: Traditionally, chikungunya outbreaks have occurred in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Since 2013, chikungunya has been found in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. Since then, about 1.5 million cases have been reported in the Americas. Symptoms are most often a high fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include muscle pain, joint swelling, and headaches.

Why This is the Year for Mosquito Control

We all know how annoying mosquitoes can be, especially when trying to entertain outdoors or enjoy the patio or garden. But did you know that mosquitoes are not just a nuisance but, also a potential threat to your family’s health and well-being? This year, more than most, mosquitoes have been making headlines in the news and all over the internet.

Mosquito-borne diseases have been under intense scrutiny this year due to a rise in the transmission of the Zika virus in the southern and central Americas.The World Health Organization reports that the virus is an international public health emergency. In addition to Zika, there are other mosquito-borne illnesses closer to home that also pose a threat to your family. The West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE or “Triple E”) are viruses that can cause illness ranging from a mild fever to more serious disease like encephalitis or meningitis. These diseases can be transmitted to your family and pets through a single bite!

In light of these potential illnesses, isn’t it time you consider mounting a counter attack and reclaiming your yard from mosquitoes? Using a canister of insect repellant is a good start but, wouldn’t you like to have peace of mind by hiring a professional to get the job done right?

Why use Pro-Tech?

  • Experts take the guesswork out of when and where to treat the yard. Pro-Tech technicians can put your property on a monthly treatment plan. This will provide maximum protection throughout the active mosquito season from the first buzz till they are gone for the winter.
  • Professionals use the right amount of product and treat in a way that keeps your family safe. Homeowners that try to do-it-themselves tend to go with the “more is better” solution, which may use too much product and cause chemical issues.
  • Experienced technicians may make recommendations on ways to further reduce the pest populations at your property, including eliminating standing water. With decades of education and experience in this area, we can help you understand about the common ways to prevent mosquitoes from being attracted specifically to your yard.
  • The cost savings for your time and effort can be amazing if you truly value your time spent outdoors this spring and summer season.

Zika – What you Need to Know

It has been all over the national and international news. The mosquito-borne disease, known as Zika has been declared a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization. This announcement, made on February 1, 2016, is due to the clusters of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities that may be caused by Zika virus. This determination is intended to mobilize an international response to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has spread throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean and is suspected to be the cause of a sharp rise in birth defects in Brazil. The last time the World Health Organization used this designation of PHEIC was during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This announcement has many people, most especially pregnant women fearing dire consequences. Let’s look at what the experts know about this virus and what you need to know to protect yourself.

What is Zika?

The Zika virus is a disease, spread through mosquitoes that can produce mild symptoms such as fever, rash, conjunctivitis and joint pain. The disease is so mild, in fact, that researchers estimate about four-out-of-five people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have it — and those who do feel symptoms will only experience them for two to seven days. The virus was first isolated in 1947 the Zika forest in Uganda. It was considered a rare virus until 2013 when only a few people had the disease in Africa and Asia. In that year it became widespread in French Polynesia. By 2015, the disease began to spread rapidly throughout Brazil, where it’s estimated that more than one million people may have contracted the virus.

How is Zika contracted?

In short, a mosquito who has bitten a person infected with the Zika virus and then bites a second person could in fact that person with the disease.

Why is Zika so feared?

Zika is commanding worldwide attention because of an alarming connection between the virus and microcephaly, a neurological disorder that results in babies being born with abnormally small heads. This causes severe developmental issues and sometimes death. While there is not definitive proof yet the WHO strongly suspects that this condition is caused by the Zika virus. To make matters even more dire, there is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.

Could Zika reach the United States?Currently this virus has been reported in the following Central and South American countries:

  • Barbados
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Cape Verde
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • French Guiana
  • Guatemala
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Martinique
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Martin
  • Samoa
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela.

There are already cases among travelers returning to mainland U.S. from these areas but there have not been any cases originating in the United States yet. The CDC has warned that imported cases could cause the virus to spread in some areas of the country. The World Health Organization warned in February that the outbreak would likely reach all countries and territories in the Americas that have Aedes mosquitoes.

What can we do to prevent Zika?

If you are visiting a country with Aedes mosquitoes you are advised to use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved, light-colored clothes and use insect screens or mosquito nets while inside.To help control the mosquito population, people should cover domestic water tanks, unblock drains, avoid accumulating garbage and avoid allowing water to stagnate in outdoor containers such as flower pots.

Some affected countries have called on women to delay pregnancy because of the possible link to microcephaly

The Latest News

As of Feb 3, 2016 there are 40 known cases of people infected with zika in the United States who traveled to the countries listed above.  One case has been proven to be transmitted sexually instead of through the actual mosquito bite.

Pro-Tech will keep you updated on the latest new on this frightening virus.  Knowledge is our best defense until a vaccine is developed.

 

Year End Report on West Nile

Unless you live in a bubble, getting bitten by a mosquito is an itchy nuisance that has probably happened numerous times to most New Englanders starting in early spring and lasting all the way to the first frost of fall. For the vast majority of us, the buzz, itch and bite are merely passing annoyances when spending time outdoors, in the yard or at any outing. Many of us take precautions such as having our yards sprayed, using personal chemical sprays or wearing clothing that will protect us from such bites.  Unfortunately, there are mosquito-borne illnesses that can cause humans to become ill, some of us very seriously.

One such illness is West Nile Virus.  West Nile virus (WNV) is most commonly transmitted to humans by those annoying, loathsome mosquitoes. Currently, there are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection. There are insect repellents, protective clothing and avoidance of areas with high mosquito counts such as near sources of stagnant water.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), most people (70-80%) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than 1% of people who are infected will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues). About 10 percent of people who develop neurologic infection due to West Nile virus will die.

Since West Nile is a nationally notifiable disease cases are reported and tracked via local and national health departments who then report to the CDC. The preliminary report for 2015 has notedthat:

  • As of November 10, 2015, a total of 48 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2015.
  • Overall, 1,732 cases of West Nile virus disease in people have been reported to CDC.
  • Of these, 1,121 (65%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 611 (35%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.
  • The following maps have been made available to show prevalence of human and non-human infects.

 

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