Mosquito-Borne Illnesses and Public Health Safety Community Responsibility
The greatest defense against mosquito-borne illness is you. The homeowner. The parent. The average consumer.
Since one of the most widely recognized mosquito-borne illnesses-West Nile Virus-was first detected in the U.S., the potentially fatal disease has spread across the country from Pennsylvania to Washington state. Forty-one states and Washington D.C. have confirmed cases of West Nile.
Not all communities provide municipal mosquito management. But only a concerted community-wide effort can properly manage these pests and reduce the risks associated with them. Every town. Every neighbor.
Diseases Transmitted by Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes transmit several human diseases-all of which can be fatal-including: West Nile Virus. First detected in the U.S. in 1999, it can lead to serious complications of the liver or nervous system, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or paralysis. Malaria. Malaria was thought to have been eradicated in the U.S. but was detected in mosquitoes in Fairfax County, VA, in 2002. Dengue fever. A small but important risk for dengue fever exists in the United States. Travelers may introduce 100 to 200 cases into the U.S. each year.
How You Can Help Prevent the Spread of Mosquito-Borne Illnesses
Contact a local Pest Management Professional (PMP). PMPs can help homeowners reduce their exposure to mosquito bites by inspecting properties for mosquito breeding sites, treating to control mosquitoes or suggesting corrective actions, and providing basic information, current news releases and references to other information sources. Eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites by replacing all standing water at least once a week. This includes bird baths, ponds and pools. Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed. Introduce mosquito-eating fish such as Gambusia, Green Sunfish, Bluegills and Minnows to standing water. Screen windows, doors, and other openings with mesh. Use mesh that is 18×18 strands per square inch, or finer. Seal around all screen edges, and keep doors and windows shut to prevent entry of most mosquito species. Avoid going outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most active: during dusk or dawn. Use insect repellent on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite. The most effective repellents currently available contain the active ingredient N,N-diethylbenza-mide (DEET), in concentrations up to about 35% (greater concentrations don’t offer better protection). Wear long-sleeved shirts and long-legged pants, preferably treated with a repellent as well.