Nelson Ruiz No Comments

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?

Nelson Ruiz No Comments

A Few Mosquitoes In America Have Been Found Carrying A Rare And Deadly Virus

Given the copious amount of news coverage on the Zika outbreaks, as well as the aggressive public health campaign to convince people to take precautions against disease-carrying bugs, most Americans probably think that they are well aware of the diseases that mosquitoes can spread to humans. However, a recent finding in North Carolina will cause many people to think twice about this assumption. Researchers in North Carolina captured several mosquitoes that had been carrying a life threatening virus, but you have likely never heard of this particular mosquito-borne disease. The virus is known as Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and two cases have already been reported in one single county. The virus is a threat to both humans and horses. Luckily, no human cases of EEE have been reported in the United States this year, but one horse has already died as a result of sustaining a bite from a mosquito that had been carrying EEE.

In Onslow County, North Carolina, researchers have found more EEE-carrying mosquitoes. These mosquitoes can spread the devastating virus to humans and horses through one single bite. According to Pamela Brown, Community Relations Officer for the Onslow County Health Department, some people who contract EEE may show no symptoms, while others may develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. If you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms, then a visit to the doctor is in order. Those that contract the disease, but fail to seek medical attention, can rapidly develop more serious medical issues, including seizures, coma and sometimes death. Using repellent every time you step outdoors and being mindful of areas that contain standing water can prevent bites from infected mosquitoes. The CDC states that EEE is one of the most significant mosquito-borne diseases in the US. Thirty three percent of Americans who contract EEE die as a result of the virus. Most people who survive the disease will sustain serious brain damage as a result of brain swelling.

Had you ever heard of EEE? Does learning about this virus make you concerned for your safety this summer?