It’s summertime, but its also mosquito season. As the temperature warms dangerous mosquitoes thrive. It’s not just a seasonal warming either. A recent report on CNN warned that as the climate of the northern United States rises, one of the most invasive and dangerous mosquitoes, the Asian tiger mosquito, continues spreading northward from Texas to New York. What’s worse is it’s not just migrating, it’s also extending its breeding season.
News like this is being labeled the “consequences of a warmer world.”
How dangerous is the Asian tiger mosquito?
The Asian tiger mosquito is easily identifiable by its black and white stripped legs and body, and it’s open to anyone and anywhere. They also bite all day long and not just during typical times of dusk to dawn. The Asian tiger mosquito first touched the U.S. in Texas in the mid-80s, but has since spread all the way to New York, with the worst infestation being in Washington D.C.
What has researchers concerned is the Asian tiger mosquito is adapting its behavior. It’s postponing hibernation and extending its egg-laying season. It’s also improving its lifespan and breeding at the same time one of the deadliest diseases it can carries draws closer to the United States.
The disease of concern is chikungunya, a disease that originated in South Africa about 60 years ago. The chikungunya disease causes intense physical pain, high fever, muscle aches, nausea, and even death.
The news reports 25,000 cases of chikungunya in neighboring St. Martin, and more recently cases of the disease passing to the U.S. In a USA Today article, Americans suspected of contracting the disease had recently traveled to the Caribbean or been on mission trips.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that two species of mosquitoes carry the disease. One is the notorious Asian tiger mosquito, and it’s in abundance in the U.S. and can carry the virus 100 times more efficiently.
The CDC reports an average of 28 people per year test positive for chikungunya in the U.S. In 2014, the number of suspected cases exceeded the U.S. yearly average totaling 37 cases in Tennessee and Florida alone.
How do you protect yourself and your family from the threat of dangerous mosquitoes?
The Illinois Department of Public Health Prevention and Control recommends the following precautions:
- Minimize time spent outdoors during the most active period: dusk to dawn.
- Double-check screens on windows and doors to ensure they are in good condition.
- Wear protective clothing especially when mosquitoes are most active. The department recommends wearing light clothing, shoes, long sleeve shirts, and pants.
- Don’t sleep outdoors. If you decide to sleep outdoors, make sure you use mosquito netting.
- When spending time outdoors, apply safe insect repellent. Before using any repellent on children, please consult a physician.
Keep your yard and living area safe from mosquitoes with regular green and clean pest prevention. Call an OmniShield specialist today for a free consultation.
Photo source: Wikipedia.org