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Which Mosquito-Borne Diseases Are Emerging In Urban And Suburban Areas In Arizona?

Which Mosquito-Borne Diseases Are Emerging In Urban And Suburban Areas In Arizona?

Mosquitoes have not always been a major public health threat in Arizona, but now that the West Nile virus has become permanently established in the southern half of the state, it has become more important than ever for residents to apply mosquito repellent and to stay aware of mosquito-borne disease trends around the state. This year has seen an unprecedented number of West Nile Virus cases in Arizona, most of which have occured in Maricopa County. As of October 18th, the number of confirmed and suspected cases of West Nile virus in Arizona is 383, and this figure only includes 2019 cases. Of these cases, 17 have resulted in death. Due to the sudden appearance of West Nile cases in Arizona, many residents are concerned that additional mosquito-borne diseases may become common in the state in coming years. Unfortunately, many of the mosquito species that inhabit urban areas of Arizona are capable of carrying multiple diseases that have not been known to infect humans in the state.

Several mosquito species, both urban and rural, carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Culex tarsalis and Culex quinquefasciatus are two urban mosquito species that transmit the majority of West Nile infections in Arizona, but Culex tarsalis is significant for transmitting a number of different diseases to humans in various parts of the world. In Arizona, this species can transmit a number of encephalitic diseases to humans, and they transmit both St. Louis encephalitis and western equine encephalitis sporadically in Arizona, but the latter disease is more common in horses and livestock. Aedes aegypti is another mosquito species of concern in Arizona, as this species spreads the Zika virus as well as dengue fever. This species has transmitted both of these viruses along the Gulf Coast in recent years, but neither disease is endemic to Arizona. However, experts believe that this is likely to change in the coming years due to the abundance of A. aegypti throughout the state, and many researchers believe that the establishment of dengue fever in the state may be unavoidable in the future.

Do you think that the Zika virus and/or dengue fever will become common in Arizona before 2030?

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Arizona Sees The Densest Mosquito Pest Populations Of Any Region In The US

Arizona is home to 40 mosquito species, some of which can spread diseases like the West Nile virus and St. Louis Encephalitis, while others are merely a biting nuisance, and some species are not even considered pests. Mosquitoes have not always posed a serious public health threat in Arizona, but this year, Arizona became the state with the highest number of West Nile disease cases, and the disease is now a permanent part of southern Arizona’s ecosystem. This means that residents can expect an abundance of West Nile-carrying mosquitoes in urban and residential areas every year from now on, and unless every homeowner in the southern half of the state diligently removes standing water sources from their lawns on a regular basis, the high rate of West Nile infection cases will also continue unabated.

Removing standing water that collects in small containers on residential lawns robs urban-dwelling Culex mosquitoes of their primary breeding source. Naturally, eliminating standing water from properties would greatly reduce the number of infected mosquitoes in human-populated areas, and therefore, the rate of West Nile infections would decrease substantially. Unfortunately, removing all standing water sources from properties is easier said than done, as large numbers of mosquitoes will congregate around even the smallest of standing water sources. For example, the small amount of water that collects in a flower pot saucer and a bottle cap is more than enough to provide developing eggs with the nourishment they need to mature into adults. So removing all breeding sites from a property would be difficult, as even the tiniest water puddles are enough to support Culex mosquito populations.

Considering the heavy rains during monsoon season, as well as the flash floods that result, keeping pools of water from collecting on properties would be next to impossible during July and August. In fact, Arizona is the state that sees the densest populations of mosquito pests, and this is largely due to the Massive amounts of water that collects on city streets during monsoons season. According to entomologists at Arizona State University, all the storm drain water in Arizona creates the perfect conditions for urban mosquitoes species to establish dense populations. However, this should not discourage residents from removing stagnant water from their property, as doing so will reduce the number of disease-carrying mosquitoes that congregate in human-populated areas. It is particularly important for Arizona residents to apply mosquito repellent before setting for outdoors.

Do you know anybody who has contracted the West Nile virus?

 

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Arizona Is Now Seeing More West Nile Cases Than Any Other State, And Seven Residents Have Died From The Disease This Year Alone

Arizona Is Now Seeing More West Nile Cases Than Any Other State, And Seven Residents Have Died From The Disease This Year Alone

Those who assume that mosquitoes are only abundant in humid regions of the US are wrong, as the driest region of the US sees a higher rate of West Nile virus disease cases than any other region in the country, including subtropical and tropical regions like southern Florida and Hawaii. Arizona has emerged as the state with the highest number of west Nile-infected residents, and surprisingly, most cases are occurring in southern Arizona where the climate is particularly dry.

The significant increase in West Nile virus cases this year does not surprise researchers who found mosquito populations to be unusually high last spring. The high mosquito population this year is due to the relatively rainy 2018-2019 winter season in Arizona, which provided the first generation of urban-dwelling mosquito species with an abundance of stagnant water sources that were ideal for breeding.

Most of these breeding sites are located on residential and urban properties where rainwater collects within various objects commonly found on lawns. For example, bird baths, garbage and recycle bins, ornamental ponds, potted plants, tires, wheelbarrows, clogged gutters, water puddles beneath outdoor faucets, children’s toys, and ground depressions can all gather rainwater where massive numbers of mosquito eggs can develop into adult mosquitoes within a period of 7 to 10 days. Simply removing these water sources from residential lawns would drastically decrease the rate of West Nile disease cases, as urban mosquitoes rely primarily on these water sources for breeding.

Seven deaths have occurred in Arizona this year alone due to West Nile infection, and the latest statistics released a week ago show that most West Nile infections have been contracted in Maricopa County this year. Currently in Maricopa County, 135 confirmed West Nile cases and three more probable cases have been documented, which far outnumbers the usual 20 West Nile cases that are recorded at this time of year in Arizona. Both federal and state officials are now working together to reduce disease-carrying mosquito populations in Arizona.

Have you noticed mosquito swarms within your neighborhood this year?

 

 

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Southern House Mosquito Bites After Dark In Residential Areas Where They Can Transmit Multiple Diseases To Humans

Mosquitoes are becoming more abundant in southern Arizona, and so are human cases of mosquito-borne disease. The most significant mosquito-borne disease in the state, the west Nile virus, was virtually unheard of in the southwest 15 years ago, but now, mosquitoes are transmitting this disease to numerous residents of Maricopa and Pima Counties. Unfortunately, mosquitoes infected with the west Nile virus may be growing in number at higher elevations in more northern areas of the state, as infected mosquitoes were collected from Flagstaff less than two weeks ago. The last human cases of west Nile in Flagstaff were reported back in 2010, but another batch of west Nile-infected mosquitoes were collected in Flagstaff three months ago, indicating that the local population is at an increased risk of contracting the infection this year. Culex quinquefasciatus is one mosquito species that can transmit west Nile to humans, and this species thrives within urban and suburban areas where it breeds in stagnant water sources found in residential yards.

Culex quinquefasciatus is more commonly known as the “southern house mosquito,” and this species can be identified by the five lines that adorn its abdomen. However, identifying this species by physical features is both difficult and unnecessary, as southern Arizona residents know this species as the mosquitoes that frequently inflict bites after the sun goes down. This mosquito can also be identified readily by the particularly loud buzzing sound that it produces. This buzzing sound contributes to the species’ reputation as a nuisance pest in and around households, but this species’ is most notable for its ability to transmit diseases from birds to humans. In addition to the west Nile virus, southern house mosquitoes also transmit St. Louis encephalitis and other encephalitis diseases in humans. These mosquitoes even transmit a parasite that causes heartworm in dogs. Southern house mosquitoes are only able to survive due to the ease with which they locate stagnant water sources in human populated areas. Removing containers that have collected rainwater and reducing the amount of water used to feed lawn grass can go a long way at reducing the southern house mosquito population in neighborhoods and parks in the state.

Do you recall sustaining mosquito bites after dark?

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Researchers Claim That Arizona Will Always Be Home To Mosquitoes Infected With The West Nile Virus

Researchers Claim That Arizona Will Always Be Home To Mosquitoes Infected With The West Nile Virus

Several mosquito species are well established in Arizona where they often establish a significant presence in urban and residential areas of the state. Luckily, the Aedes Aegypti species, which is the most significant disease-carrying mosquito species in the United States, does not inhabit Arizona. As with most regions of the US, however, mosquito populations and west Nile disease rates are increasing in the state. In fact, the west Nile virus is now a permanent part of the state’s ecosystem.

The west Nile virus was first documented as being contracted by an individual in Arizona back in 2003, and since then, hundreds of residents have fallen victim to the disease. One of these residents, Bruce Gran, was diagnosed with the disease 7 years ago, and since then, he has experienced unpleasant symptoms of the disease on a daily basis. Gran, a resident of Tucson, is only 52 years old, but due to his unfortunate diagnosis, he experiences frequent bouts of memory loss in addition to migraine headaches. While Arizona has not seen west Nile disease rates increase to the extent which many other states have, many more residents will be at a greater risk than ever of contracting the disease in the state.

Residents of southern Arizona are at much greater risk of contracting west Nile than residents in the north, as mosquito populations are significantly higher in the south. The two most significant disease-spreading mosquito species in the state, Culex tarsalis and Culex quinquefasciatus, maintain a year round presence in the south due to the regions warm winters. The original west Nile strain appeared in New York, but over the years, the disease has moved across the entire country. Another strain was discovered in Texas not long ago, and now this strain has become a permanent fixture in Maricopa County.

Do you apply mosquito repellent before stepping outdoors?

 

 

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Mosquito Protection Tips | Magic Pest Control

Mosquito Protection Tips | Magic Pest Control

Many people may connect the height of mosquito season, occurring in the summer through early fall, to the irksomely itchy welts that accompany mosquito bites. But, there are far worse associations to make with these blood-sucking pests, such as the health threats they pose to humans in their daily lives—even in their own backyards. To help protect the community against mosquito-related health risks, Magic Pest Control is reminding the public about threatening mosquito-borne diseases as well as prevention tips to avoid bites.

Thanks to professional pest control there are certain serious, and sometimes even deadly, mosquito-transmitted illnesses, such as malaria, that we rarely see in the U.S. But, the public should remember that there are still harmful diseases including the Zika, West Nile and chikungunya viruses present in the U.S. that can be transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. In order to protect against these health threats, knowledge about each disease and general mosquito prevention is key.

The main ways to avoid mosquito bites and better protect against mosquito-transmitted diseases include:

  • Applying insect repellant containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon-eucalyptus or IR3535 when outdoors and use as directed on the product label. Apply repellant over top of sunscreen, and reapply every four to six hours.
  • Minimizing outside activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, though it is important to note that mosquitoes that transmit chikungunya are active throughout the day.
  • Wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes when outdoors.
  • Eliminating areas of standing water around the home including clogged gutters, birdbaths, flower pots, tires and kiddie pools or untreated pools. Mosquitoes need only half an inch of water to breed.
  • Screening windows and doors, and patching torn screens.