As a child, I can recall long summer days of carefree outdoor fun that spilled over into the evening hours. Getting bitten by a mosquito was always part of the equation, and so were the whelps and discomfort that followed. Not so very long ago mosquito-borne illness wasn’t a concern our parents worried much about on those fun summer evenings. The only concern of seasonal mosquitoes was the chance of infection from scratching the itchy bites too much. Things have drastically changed in a short period of time when it comes to the way we view mosquitoes.
Fast forward to the present and the many mosquito-borne illnesses we have to consider each time we venture outdoors into an unprotected area and you will realize the impetus of exercising mosquito smart practices. One of the most prevalent causes for concern is the risk of West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause a mild fever to encephalitis (swelling of the brain) or meningitis (swelling of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord) in humans and other mammals. The West Nile Virus cycle is maintained in nature between mosquitoes and birds, the latter serving as reservoir hosts. The mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. An infected mosquito can also spread the virus to healthy birds as well. Overwintering adult mosquitoes can harbor the virus and thereby serve as one way of sustaining the disease year to year.
West Nile was first detected in North America in 1999 in New York City. Prior to 1999, the illness had only been found in Africa, Eastern Europe, and West Asia. When the outbreak in 1999 took place researchers initially thought it might be St. Louis Encephalitis. During the same time researchers were observing human cases, they also noted an increase in avian mortality including wild crows and exotic birds at The Bronx Zoo. This occurrence was a call to alarm, because St. Louis Encephalitis has never shown a trend in avian mortality. Other pathogenic arboviruses were investigated as the cause of this unusual phenomenon but, subsequent DNA sequencing of human and avian viral isolates indicated that they were closely related to West Nile (WN) Virus, not previously isolated in the Western Hemisphere. This event marked the beginning of things to come in terms of WNV infection. In 2012, all 48 contiguous states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Services nationally, there has been a dramatic increase in West Nile Virus activity since 2002, including infections reported in New Hampshire.
In our region, human infections of mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are as commonplace in the news during the summer months as the prediction of a summer thunderstorm. It can sometimes be hard to initially identify the presence of the disease because some cases are asymptomatic, which means the individual infected may show no symptoms of being ill. Being infected with West Nile Virus can also take those infected down two very different paths, one being the development of West Nile Fever and the other turning into West Nile Disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), It is estimated that about 20% of people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever. Symptoms include fever, headache, tiredness, and body aches, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands. While the illness can be as short as a few days, even healthy people have reported being sick for several weeks. The symptoms of severe disease (also called neuroinvasive disease, such as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis or West Nile poliomyelitis) include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 150 persons infected with the West Nile virus will develop a more severe form of disease. Serious illness can occur in people of any age; however people over age 50 and some immunocompromised persons (for example, transplant patients) are at the highest risk for getting severely ill when infected with WNV. Most people (about 4 out of 5) who are infected with West Nile virus will not develop any type of illness (an asymptomatic infection); however you cannot know ahead of time if you’ll get sick or not when infected.
The best prevention against West Nile, and other mosquito related illnesses is to exercise efficient mosquito control and prevention practices. Mosquito Squad of Southern New Hampshire can eradicate and prevent the resurgence of mosquitoes on your property all season long with our barrier spray program. Our safe and effective barrier spray will kill what mosquitoes are present and prevent resurgence for 21 days. Getting started is easy and worry free. Our rotation program ensures mosquito control all summer long.
Contact Mosquito Squad of Southern New Hampshire to learn more about and our safe and effective barrier spray program. Live mosquito free or die. Call now (603) 373 – 8863 • email: firstname.lastname@example.org start living the mosquito free life.