Mosquito bites . . . the ultimate sign of summer. But while we’re all familiar with the itching, swelling, and discomfort they can cause, few people realize that mosquito bites can be far more dangerous than they appear. Mosquitoes are hosts to a number of serious diseases, some of which can be fatal. Before dismissing the importance of efficient mosquito protection for you and your family, you may want to consider what you are exposing your loved ones to.
You may already be familiar with malaria as the most-common mosquito-borne illness. Although eradicated in the US in the 1940s, approximately 1,500 cases of malaria are reported each year in the country from people who travel abroad. Its global mortality rate is both alarming and frightening. Though treatable, malaria is extremely serious, with symptoms including chills, fever, headache, sweating, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. In the most severe cases, malaria can cause acute kidney failure, anemia, seizures, coma, and death.
West Nile Virus has seen headlines recently for the sudden and virulent nature of its attacks. In 2012 alone, 5,674 people in the U.S. were infected with the virus, with 286 victims dying from the mosquito-borne disease. Mild cases of West Nile Virus cause fever, rashes, and vomiting, but more severe cases can affect the brain and spinal cord, resulting in loss of vision, convulsions, disorientation, loss of muscle control, coma, and death. With 2012 seeing the second-worst year for West Nile cases in nearly a decade, the use of professional mosquito control in preventing the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses has become even more important.
Dengue (also called Dengue Fever) is a tropical fever that can cause severe muscle pain, headache, eye pain, and rashes. As the name implies, it generally begins with a sudden high fever that can quickly climb to dangerous levels. Though rare in the U.S., cases of Dengue Fever have been reported in both Florida and the American Southwest, especially along the Texas-Mexico border.
If you have traveled internationally, you have probably heard of Yellow Fever—the lack of effective therapeutic treatments for it make the vaccination highly recommended. Though a mild infection of Yellow Fever may only result in fever, chills, vomiting, headache, and pain, a more serious infection will result in a second “toxic” stage that can see liver damage from jaundice (the “yellowing” referred to in the disease’s name), bleeding in the mouth and eyes, and blood in the vomit. In a particularly bad Yellow Fever epidemic, mortality rates can rise as high as 50%. Though Yellow Fever is commonly thought of as a tropical disease, most common to South America and Africa, as with so many diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes, it can sometimes travel. Historically, there have been several outbreaks and isolated cases in the United States. The World Health Organization estimates that the disease causes 30,000 deaths a year.
The health dangers posed by mosquitoes go far beyond some itching and discomfort. In some cases, it’s a question of avoiding serious illness, lifelong health problems, or even death. When it comes to keeping you and your family safe and healthy, don’t gamble. Call in a professional mosquito control service like Mosquito Squad and get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’re protecting your loved ones.