Mosquito Management’s Role in Protecting Public Health
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 most people do not realize the magnitude of the health threat that they represent. 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. For several years, West Nile virus, several types of encephalitis and dog heartworm have been the primary mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. However, more recently, Zika virus, Dengue fever, and Chikungunya have emerged as serious threats to human health.
Mosquito-borne encephalitis in the U.S. is prevalent in several forms and is geographically wide-spread. Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain and central nervous system, and is characterized by a high to moderate mortality rate, with some survivors left with permanent physical and mental disabilities. West Nile virus, which in severe cases can cause encephalitis, entered the U.S. along the east coast in 1999 and has had serious ongoing implications for the rest of North America as it has spread across the country and remains a threat. (Please see our West Nile virus page for more detailed information).
A growing concern for pet owners is dog heartworm. Dog heartworm occurs when a parasite transmitted by a mosquito becomes lodged, and grows, in the heart of the infected pet. Heartworm can affect cats and other pets, as well as dogs, and if left untreated, severe physical damage and death may occur. Beyond viral and parasitic diseases, other health problems caused by mosquitoes include severe allergic reactions and infections.
Health concerns are certainly not the only reason to control mosquitoes. If you’ve ever been driven inside by mosquitoes during a backyard picnic, or had to cancel an important outdoor event because of mosquito annoyance, or have chased one pesky invader around the bedroom in the middle of the night, you know the value of effective mosquito control. Mosquitoes can be abundant and problematic as to make an area uninhabitable or unsuitable for recreational or industrial development and economic losses can be considerable in resort areas and at local tourist attractions.
VDCI is a company built on the foundations of public health, ethics, professionalism, and technical expertise. We establish vector management programs that are based on an understanding of the underlying vector’s ecology and rooted in the current science of environmentally sound control measures.