Educating Your Community Can Help Eliminate Mosquito-Borne Diseases

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Educating Your Community Can Help Eliminate Mosquito-Borne Diseases

mosquito bite on arm msquito control public educationWe’re all impacted by the presence of mosquitoes – in more ways than you might know. Itchy bites are often a harmless annoyance, but the spread of mosquito-borne disease can have disastrous consequences for both humans and animals. Proactive integrated mosquito management (IMM) is the most effective way to limit their populations. VDCI partners with city, county, and state governments as well as mosquito abatement districts and public health entities to protect residents and visitors to their community. Depending on the species of mosquito in your area, public education can play a critical role in preventing mosquito development and bites can be minimized with the use of EPA approved repellents and personal protective clothing. 

Mosquitoes Are a Threat to Public Health

You may have heard about common diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Yellow Fever, Zika, dengue and others. It can be easy to brush off the transmission of these pathogens as extremely rare instances, but the reality is mosquitoes spread more disease than any other species on earth, resulting in approximately one million deaths annually. Victims of these diseases can experience severe complications, including flu-like symptoms, allergic reactions, brain and nervous system inflammation, permanent physical and mental disabilities, or birth defects. Mosquitoes are also responsible for transmitting deadly parasitic heartworms to cats, dogs, and other wildlife.

We Each Play a Role

Mosquitoes have existed on earth for millions of years and with over 3,000 unique species  they won’t be eradicated any time soon. There are numerous ways to reduce mosquito populations in your area and they all begin with an understanding of species biology and empowering community members to take personal protective measures.

Eliminating Mosquito Habitat

Public Education in Reducing Mosquito Populations 1Mosquitoes require standing water to develop. A single female can lay anywhere from 200-300 eggs and utilize habitats as small as a bottle cap.  When it’s hot outside these larvae can develop into biting adult mosquitoes in less than 4 days!  Some of the sites we frequently find in backyards include clogged gutters, old tires, and potholes or depressions near sprinkler heads. You can do your part to help eliminate mosquitoes by emptying outdoor containers such as cups, buckets, flower pots, bird baths, and watering cans. Likewise, take steps to ensure water properly drains off of tarps, tables, and outdoor equipment during rainstorms.

Personal Protection Against Mosquito Bites (Repellent and Clothing)

While reducing mosquito habitat on your property can make a significant difference in the battle against mosquitoes, many species are capable of flying several miles to take a blood meal.  Because of this it’s also important for you to wear protective clothing and use an EPA approved repellent when biting pressure is high or transmittable diseases have been identified in local populations. Wear light-colored clothing, closed toe shoes, long-sleeves, and long pants when spending time outside can reduce your likelihood of being bitten. This is especially important around dawn or dusk when mosquitoes tend to be most active. Bare skin on hands, ankles or face should be protected with repellent or covered when possible. For the safe and effective use of any product, always read the label and follow manufacturer guidelines.

Public Education Is Imperative

Public Education in Reducing Mosquito Populations 2 bugspray mosquito prevention health and safetyPublic participation can play an important role in reducing local mosquito populations and preventing transmission of disease. The tools used to control mosquitoes are diverse and often misunderstood. Partnering with a professional mosquito management organization can help ensure community members receive the most accurate and effective information about the mosquito species, diseases, and tools used in your area. This is a core pillar in any successful mosquito control program that municipalities, health departments, churches, schools, and other community groups must prioritize when getting started. 

The science behind mosquito management is foundational to everything we do and application strategies continue to develop as environmental conditions shift and management solutions become more advanced. Whether a project requires targeted ground operations or large-scale efforts using drones and aerial fleets, VDCI helps stakeholders design the most productive and economical approach.

VDCI_Logo_squareSince 1992, Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) has taken pride in providing municipalities, mosquito abatement districts, industrial sites, planned communities, homeowners associations, and golf courses with the tools they need to run effective mosquito control programs. We are determined to protect the public health of the communities in which we operate. Our mosquito control professionals have over 100 years of combined experience in the field of public health, specifically vector disease control. We strive to provide the most effective and scientifically sound mosquito surveillance and control programs possible based on an Integrated Mosquito Management approach recommended by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). VDCI is the only company in the country that can manage all aspects of an integrated mosquito management program, from surveillance to disease testing to aerial application in emergency situations.

2018 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Written by the Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) team

 

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Official reports on vector-borne diseases, severe weather, and changes in our climate were repeated in various media outlets last year. The attention brought heightened awareness to a number of disease-carrying pests, with a lot of the attention on – the mosquito. For this article, we will provide a brief overview of mosquito-borne disease reporting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2018. We will also discuss lesser known mosquito-borne diseases, and the CDC report that highlighted an increase in vector-borne disease reporting over the last decade.

Vector-borne disease transmission cycles are complex. They involve a variety of interconnected environmental parameters – meaning that predicting where they will be prevalent in any given year is difficult. However, we will also briefly cover what is currently being reported in 2019.

A New Dawn for Fighting Mosquito-Borne Diseases

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Over recent decades many mosquito-borne diseases have resurfaced or emerged and spread rapidly. From Zika, dengue to West Nile fever and chikungunya. Even malaria, which has had long-term global efforts to eradicate it has recently shown signs of increasing.

Many of these diseases have no specific treatment and the limited medicines available for some are facing resistance. Insecticides used to control mosquitoes are also facing resistance. On many fronts, innovations are urgently needed to control old diseases and prevent new ones from spreading.

Scientists in fields as diverse as biochemistry, genomics, entomology, computing, remote sensing, avionics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and aerospace engineering are combining their resources to develop new ways to fight diseases.

Here are a few examples of some recent scientific developments that are bringing a new dawn in the fight against the global threat of mosquito-borne diseases.Continue reading

Public Health: U.S. Mosquito-Borne Diseases [Quick Overview]

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There are really only two reasons to control mosquitoes; to avoid nuisance biting, and to preclude the spread of mosquito-borne disease. Everyone recognizes that mosquitoes can be a terrible blood feeding nuisance, but many people do not realize the magnitude of the health threat that they represent globally. Some of the world’s most deadly diseases are carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. It is estimated that up to a million people die every year from mosquito-borne illness with many countries around the world ravaged by malaria, yellow fever, and dengue-hemorrhagic fever. What is the history and what are the current local cases of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S.? Continue reading

Vector-Borne Disease Spotlight: Jamestown Canyon Virus

Written By Kris New, Regional Director for VDCI
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What? There is another virus that can be transmitted by mosquitoes?!

Yes. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world, and Jamestown Canyon virus is another virus on the long list of diseases vectored by these arthropods.

What is interesting about Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), is that it behaves a little differently than a few of the viruses the public may be more familiar with. West Nile virus (WNV) and Zika virus rely on a reservoir host to perpetuate the virus, as the mosquito cannot pass it on to their offspring. With JCV, in addition to having reservoir hosts, such as deer, this virus can also have transovarian transmission, which means the parent arthropod (in this case a mosquito) can pass the disease pathogen to their offspring. This is not completely uncommon. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a vector-borne disease that is transmitted through an infected tick carrying the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii. The bacterium can be transmitted to offspring in this way as well.

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2017 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Written By The VDCI Team

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In 2017, the scientific community, the public, and the press maintained their interest in the Zika virus outbreak of 2016. Articles surfaced on the potential long-term health complications attributed to contracting the virus. The public received extra education on personal protective measures to reduce the spread of Zika. And the scientific community reviewed trusted and experimental methods to prevent future outbreaks. In addition to Mother Nature bringing new mosquito-related problems to Texas and Florida last year, in the floodwaters left by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, both states reported the only locally-acquired U.S. cases of Zika virus for the second year in a row. 

There were several mosquito-borne diseases reported in the United States in 2017. In this blog, we will focus on: West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and Zika. WNV remains the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes to humans in the U.S. as well as responsible for taking the highest number of human lives.
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2016 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review

Written By VDCI Team

2016 was a year of intense scrutiny over vector-borne diseases due to the outbreak of Zika virus. The media coverage of Zika has overshadowed several other mosquito-borne diseases that remain a threat within the U.S. In this blog, we will cover three of the many diseases that were transmitted by mosquitoes in 2016: West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and Zika. All of the information in this post was taken from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s data points and website as of 01/17/2017.

west-nile-virus-wnv-2016-incidence-cdc-map-united-states-01032017.jpgWest Nile Virus (WNV): WNV is the most common virus transmitted by mosquitoes to humans in the United States. WNV is typically transmitted to humans by mosquitoes that have previously fed upon an infected bird. While over 150 species of mosquitoes have been known to carry WNV, the main vector species in the U.S. are Culex pipiens, Culex tarsalis, and Culex quinquefasciatus. These mosquitoes are all active at night, and most cases of infection occur during the summer months. Approximately 20% of people affected by WNV will experience flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, nausea, muscle pain, and swollen lymph glands. Other symptoms may include a stiff neck, rash, sleepiness or disorientation. Less than 1% of those infected will develop West Nile Encephalitis or Meningitis, which can lead to coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and even death.

As of January 17, 2017, 47 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2016. Overall, 2,038 cases of WNV were reported in humans, and there were 94 confirmed deaths (4.61%) in 2016. The total is a slight improvement from 2015, where there were 2,060 human cases and 119 confirmed deaths (5.8%). To learn more about the symptoms, treatment, and mosquito species that vector this virus, visit our educational page on West Nile virus.
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Zika-Carrying Aedes Aegypti: Municipal Mosquito Control Solutions

Written By Jason Williams, Texas Regional Director

Based on the spread of Zika virus in 2016, many municipalities are revisiting how they prepare for the 2017 mosquito season.

markets-served-vdci-municipal-mosquito-aedes-aegypti.jpgWe previously provided an overview on why Aedes aegypti is a species that is challenging the mosquito control industry. Because of these challenges, mosquito management experts continue to explore new methodologies to manage Aedes aegypti populations, with the goal always being to protect public health by providing the best solutions to the unique needs of communities.

Understanding If A Threat Exists: Surveillance, Monitoring, and Disease Testing

As discussed in our recent blogsurveillance and monitoring of Aedes aegypti require specialized trapping methods, and there are some proven models as well as novel trap designs that provide great insight into the presence and population density of a species within a given area. The discovery of Aedes aegypti in a community does not mean Zika is soon to follow. After identifying captured mosquitoes, the next step should be to conduct disease testing to determine if a threat exists within the community.
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Zika-Carrying Aedes Aegypti: Challenging Mosquito Management

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Written By Jason Williams, Texas Regional Director

 

We recently featured Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever Mosquito, in our Mosquito of the Month blog series. In the world of mosquito management, the species is challenging to beat – both as a topic of interest as well as a target with unique behaviors and habitats.

1_Aedes_aegypti_mosquito_eNews.jpgThe species has been the focus of much industry news this year because of its ability to transmit Zika virus, a new virus to the Western Hemisphere, that can have effects ranging from mild illness to severe birth defects. This mosquito, as well as many other mosquito species that can transmit human pathogens, has already had an enormous impact on human history. In addition to Zika virus, the Aedes aegypti is also known to carry several other mosquito-borne diseases that have potentially severe medical implications including, yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya. The increased awareness of the species, combined with 2016 Zika outbreaks and fears of an outbreak in areas where the species resides, have helped influence social behavior and have had an enormous impact on our global economy. The recent effects are most evident as communities try to determine how to properly fund Zika control efforts to protect their residents and individuals evaluate their family planning timeline and reconsider where and when they travel. With all that fear riding on those tiny wings, proper management of this challenging species and the pathogens it carries is obviously prudent.
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West Nile Virus in North American Bird Populations

Written By Broox Boze, Program Manager in Northern Colorado
 

West_Nile_Virus_Lifecycle.pngPrior to 1999, you had probably never heard of West Nile virus, and in fact, until then it was virtually unknown in the US. However, that year 62 human cases, 25 horse cases, and countless bird diagnoses were reported in New York state. Since that time the virus quickly spread throughout the country and has been documented in all of the lower 48 states, affecting more than 40,000 people. While the effects of West Nile virus on human populations have been studied in great detail, and we have a fairly good understanding of its impact on human health, we are only recently starting to understand how it can make changes to bird populations and the larger ecosystem.Continue reading