The Asian tiger mosquito is one of the most easily recognizable mosquito species due to its black and white stripes. They were first discovered in the U.S. in the 1980s and have grown in population ever since. Unlike many mosquito species, the Asian tiger mosquito is known to thrive in cities like New York and now Cornell University is studying whether or not the pest can lead to an outbreak of chikungunya in 2013.
Chikungunya is a vector-borne disease that has similar symptoms to dengue fever. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and headaches. Chikungunya is normally brought to the United States through travelers from Africa and Asia. Cornell University has been studying the disease and its possible growth in the U.S. through the Asian tiger mosquito.
Climate warming and international travel was looked at to see how it can affect the spread of Chikungunya through a computer model. The model shows that if one person carrying the disease is bitten by an Asian tiger mosquito, there is a high probability of an outbreak, in some areas affecting 1 in every 5,000 people. According to the prediction, outbreaks could occur in New York during August and September, in Atlanta from June to September and year-round in Miami. The Asian tiger mosquito will be a significant carrier of the disease due to its urban dwelling life.
There is no vaccine for Chikungunya at this time so health officials are urging travelers and homeowners to protect themselves by ridding areas of standing water and wearing long sleeves, pants and repellent at times when mosquitoes are most active. It’s important for those travelers leaving the country to also know the risk and symptoms of the areas they travel to.
While it will be interesting to see if Cornell’s predictions are correct, we at Mosquito Squad think it is always important to protect yourself from mosquitoes, ticks and the harmful disease they can spread. Asian tiger mosquitoes, like all mosquitoes, breed in standing water, and not just large bodies of water. Three hundred mosquito eggs can be laid in a puddle as small as a bottle cap! Make sure you empty any standing water from your yard at least once a week and more frequently when temperatures are warmer. Mosquito reproduction occurs more quickly in warmer temperatures.
Some properties will need professional mosquito control to rid the space of mosquitoes. For that, you have Mosquito Squad!