Last week I visited my parents in the great state of Maine (yes, I did have lobster). On Thursday night, I sat back and relaxed after a long day of visiting family and friends to watch the news and guess what the main story was? West Nile in Maine. Unfortunately, this is the case in many parts of the United States this year.
West Nile was first detected in the U.S. in 1999 and has been tracked by the Centers for Disease Control ever since. They reported today that 2012 is the worst year ever for the disease and they expect it to get worse, “’The peak of West Nile Virus epidemics usually occurs in mid-August, but it takes a couple of weeks for people to get sick, go to the doctor and get reported,’ said Dr. Lyle Petersen, the director of CDC’s Vector-Bourne Infectious Disease Division. ‘Thus we expect many more cases to occur.’” Source.
As of this week, forty seven states had confirmed human cases of West Nile, accounting for 1,118 cases and 41 deaths. North Carolina had its first death from the mosquito-borne illness in over seven years and Texas has the largest outbreak with 586 cases and 21 deaths.
West Nile is transferred through mosquito bites and results in three different effects in humans: asymptomatic, West Nile Fever or West Nile Meningitis.
Eighty percent of those bitten by an infected mosquito will never get sick or show symptoms which is the asymptomatic phase. If a patient starts to develop a fever, headache, chills, drowsiness or other flu-like symptoms, they most likely have West Nile fever. These indicators usually start to present themselves after an incubation period of up to a week. There is currently no cure for the disease generally; instead, each symptom is treated accordingly.
The third and most critical phase of West Nile is West Nile meningitis. The symptoms of WN fever can be apparent but can also include less consciousness. Extreme cases of West Nile are more common in older generations.
The best way to protect yourself against West Nile is to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes. At Mosquito Squad, we don’t want “minimizing exposure” to mean that you lock yourself away indoors. We want you outside and enjoying the last weeks of summer. You can do this by following our 5Ts of mosquito control.
1. Tip – tip objects that may hold standing water including birdbaths and dog bowls
2. Toss – remove excess grass and other yard clippings
3. Turn – Turn over objects like plastic toys
4. Remove Tarps – remove tarps that aren’t pulled taut so they don’t produce small pools of water
5. Treat – Have a professional come out and treat your property and its vegetation to cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your yard. The Mosquito Squad barrier spray can cut down on your mosquitoes by 85-90%.
If you have questions regarding how to effectively protect yourself against mosquitoes and the dangerous diseases they may carry, please contact your local Mosquito Squad office.