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Category: Mosquito Squad

June 20, 2018: Mosquitoes Trapped in El Paso Test Positive for West Nile Virus

“The City of El Paso Department of Public Health has been notified that one of several mosquito pools collected, have tested positive for West Nile Virus.

The Vector Control Program with the Environmental Services Department has been setting traps this season since May.

The mosquito pool that tested positive were located in the central part of town within the 79903 zip code.
“When it comes to West Nile virus it is never really a question of ‘if’ we can expect to see the disease locally, but rather ‘when”, said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “What we can do is be proactive against being bitten and be aware that there are other diseases that could present themselves in El Paso.”
In years past, human cases of diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue, and Zika virus have been seen in El Paso but in travel-associated cases only.
There have been no cases reported this season of West Nile Virus in El Paso, but a total of 14 human cases were confirmed last year.

The city is urging El Pasoans to “Tip and Toss” items outside their homes frequently, to prevent stagnant water which could result in mosquito breeding. Residents should also follow these tips."

March 13, 2107: 3 New Locally Acquired Cases of Zika Confirmed in Miami-Dade

Florida health officials confirmed three new locally acquired cases of the Zika virus in Miami-Dade County on Thursday but said they will not lead to any new Zika zones in the city or nearby South Beach.

“Two are cases that had samples collected in October as part of our ongoing investigation and the department just received confirmatory testing back from CDC.,” according to the Florida Department of Health, which added that both cases have been added to 2016 data.

“The third case reported no symptoms, but screening conducted after blood donation in January showed evidence of a past infection,” officials added on Thursday.

“This individual had multiple exposures in Miami-Dade County and likely contracted Zika in 2016,” health officials explained. “Because the individual was asymptomatic, it is difficult to determine when infection occurred. Since the first positive sample was collected in January, this is considered our first locally reported case of Zika in 2017.”

State health officials, however stressed that Florida still does not have any identified areas with ongoing, active Zika transmission.

With the two new cases, the total number of Zika cases reported in Florida for 2016 stands at 1,384. So far in 2017, the total of Zika cases reported in Florida is 18.

Gov. Rick Scott announced on Dec. 9 that the final remaining Zika zone in the state had been lifted — an area of about 1.5 square miles between Eighth and 28th streets in South Beach.

“We will continue to see travelers bringing Zika infections into our state and so we must remain on alert and continue all the protective efforts that we’ve doing that have led to this success,” cautioned Philip, who also serves as Florida’s surgeon general. “That means continuing to use repellent, keeping your skin covered as much as possible …. And we cannot forget about the risk associated with sexual transmission.”

On December 2, 2016, the governor announced that the Little River zone in Miami had been cleared. That area included a one-square-mile stretch between NW 79th Street to the north, NW 63rd Street to the south, NW 10th Avenue to the west and N. Miami Avenue to the east.

In November, Scott gave the all clear to the Miami Beach area north of 28th Street to 63rd Street. Before that, he announced that the Wynwood area of Miami had also seen no new transmissions of Zika. This included the area of Northwest 5th Avenue to the west, U.S. 1 to the East, 38th Street to the north, and 20th Street to the south.

Despite Zika concerns, Florida set a tourism record last year with 112.8 million visitors.

Source: Patch.com

February 20, 2017: "Bumper Crop" of Mosquitoes Likely in San Diego after Rains

This weekend update of the coming mosquito season from Times of San Diego.

“San Diego can expect a ‘bumper crop’ of mosquitoes starting as early as March because of the exceptionally heavy winter rains.

The warning came as 1,200 members of the American Mosquito Control Association wrapped up their annual meeting Friday in San Diego.

“In all likelihood, you’re going to have a bumper crop of mosquitoes this year,” said Jon Conlon, technical director and spokesman for the nonprofit association based in New Jersey.

Any flooding this weekend will exacerbate the potential for mosquitoes. “As the flooding recedes, it’s going to leave pockets of water that are perfect breeding points,” Conlon said.

He said eggs laid by mosquitoes will start hatching as soon as temperatures stay above 55 to 60 degrees. That could happen as early as March, and mosquito control districts throughout California are gearing up to deal with swarms, he said.

Officials in San Diego are particularly concerned about insects carrying the Zika and West Nile viruses.

Conlon said the most mosquitoes will likely be found in San Diego County’s inland valleys, but the insects are increasingly found in urban areas as well.

The mosquito control association recommends the following precautions:

Drain standing water. Empty bird baths, turn over open containers and make sure pools and spas are properly chlorinated.

Dress properly. Mosquitoes are drawn to dark clothing, and can bite through tight fitting garments, so wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes.

Use insect repellent. Make sure it’s registered with the Environmental Protection Agency."

Mosquito Squad Dread Skeeter’s Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Christmas 2016

As much as he hates those disgusting, disease-bearing varmints, even Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad has a heart, especially during this joyous season.

When interviewed in his Richmond, Virginia, home at Outdoor Living Brands, Dread shared with us some of the fun and practical gifts he like this Christmas.

1. Bug-A-Salt 2.0 Fly Shooter Yellow

This Bug-A-Salt new stronger version pest gun uses ordinary table salt to kill flies and bugs. Each shot uses just one pinch of ordinary table salt to drop a bug whole, leaving no nasty mess to clean up. One load is good for 80 shots, and a salt viewing window shows load level. This unit features a cocking pump slide handle and requires no batteries. Simply release the auto safety and a pop-up sight indicates “ready to fire.” Accuracy range: 3ft. Dimensions: 21in.L x 7in.W x 3in.H. For ages 18+. Buy it here at Cabela’s for $34.99.

2. Anatomy of A Mosquito (Entomology) Round Clock

No need to be an entomologist to enjoy any of these entomological attitude biology gifts featuring detailed “Anatomy Of A Mosquito”, with labels of all key anatomical parts. Make others do a double-take during mosquito season with an informative scientific diagram of everyone’s most unwanted insect! No need to have been bitten by a mosquito to enjoy! Buy it here at Zazzle for $27.85.

3. Backyard Safari Field Scope

Backyard Safari Field Scope by Poof-Slinky, Inc.. Recommended for ages 4 years and up. Considered a best toy for 4 year olds. Rated a top toy for 5 year olds. Zoom in on your favorite bug! Imaginative Play. Outdoor Toys. Science & Nature. Buy it here at Cabela’s for $14.99.

4. New Instant Mesh Screen Door Magic Magnetic Hands-Free Bug Mosquito Fly Out

Easily opens and then closes itself securely using 18 powerful magnets. No need to worry about full hands, children, or pets leaving the door open. Keeps fresh air in whole providing an impenetrable barrier to bugs. Sets up in seconds with no tools required, and fold up for easy storage. The magnetic mesh hands fee door includes two panels 19 – 1/2" wide by 83" tall.
Instantly opens, and securely closes. Includes 18 powerful magnets. Easy walk through. Installs in seconds, no tools required. Aligns magnets, attach adhesive stripes, and affix to door frame. Buy it here at Jet.Com For $12.99.

5. Arteriors Mosquito Small Bench

Reminiscent of the graceful silhouette of a mosquito’s leg, this ottoman works well in a bathroom, around a center table in a gallery hall, in front of a fireplace or just about anywhere. Natural iron legs with natural linen seat. Buy it here at Homeclick.com for $660.00. Click here for specifications.

6. Mosquito (Culex pipiens)

Who wouldn’t love to hate this plush toy who is just itching to come over and play. She can be there by dusk. Great gag gift for nature enthusiasts. Good reminder to bring insect repellent. Crafted from all new materials. Stuffed with polyester fiber fill. Surface washable: sponge with water & soap, air dry. Buy it here at Giantmicrobes.com for $9.95.

7. Parachute Hammock with Mosquito Net

In vibrant wine and teal this hammock includes a built-in protective mosquito netting with a zipper for quick access. Dian Rahmawati presents this lightweight hammock sewn of the finest quality breathable nylon parachute silk. The hammock features a pouch that can hold a drink or store the hammock all rolled up when not in use. Includes nautical ropes and stainless steel hooks which can be stored in the same pouch. Buy it here at Novica.com for $99.99.

8. Protect Yourself Mosquito Proof Your Home Greeting Card

Do we really need to say anything else? Buy it here at Zazzle for $3.70.

9. Live Pitcher Plant Terrarium

Live, healthy adult sized Pitcher Plant with a 4.5″ diameter terrarium. Will have at least two pitchers on it, ready to gobble a mosquito! Called S. purpurea, its leaves create a ‘pitcher’ shaped ‘pitfall trap’ with pointy hairs pointing downwards, so unlucky varmints who enter can’t get out. Then they drown in the liquid at the bottom of the pitcher, where they are digested. Pitchers stay under eight inches tall so are excellent for terrariums. Comes with an easy care sheet and set up for beginners. Growing to this size from seed takes two years, so this is a best seller compared to kits that come with seeds. Terrariums come an assortment of bright colors. Buy it here at Nature Gift Store for $14.95.

10. “Life Is Like A Mosquito” Gift Box

Display your favorite images on the lid of this two-inch square fanciful keepsake box. Made of wood and secured with a magnetized lid this box is perfect to store jewelry or other precious knick-knacks. Buy it here at Zazzle for $22.30.

November 11, 2016: Human Trials Begin for Army-Developed Zika Vaccine

A Veterans Day shout out to those who serve — above and beyond, from Mosquito Squad

“A clinical trial began here Monday at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, where 75 participating healthy adults were vaccinated with a Zika virus vaccine that the institute’s scientists developed earlier this year, Walter Reed officials announced Tuesday.

“The Phase 1 trial will test the safety and immunogenicity — the ability of the vaccine to trigger an immune response in the body — of the purified, inactivated Zika virus vaccine called ZPIV. The vaccine is being tested at WRAIR’s Clinical Trial Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“’The Army has moved efficiently from recognizing Zika virus as a threat, producing ZPIV for use in animals and demonstrating its effectiveness in mice and monkeys, producing ZPIV for human testing, and now initiating clinical trials to establish its safety and build the case for subsequent efficacy trials,’ Army Col. (Dr.) Nelson Michael, director of WRAIR’s Military HIV Research Program, or MHRP, and Zika program co-lead, said in a statement.

“Efficacy refers to the vaccine’s ability to demonstrate a health effect when tested in a clinical trial.

“’All of this,’ he added, ‘was done in 10 months.’

“Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, Zika program co-lead and associate director for emerging infectious disease threats at WRAIR’s MHRP, said the Army was able to move so quickly in developing, manufacturing and testing a Zika vaccine ‘because of its extensive experience with this vaccine platform and longstanding investments in the understanding and mitigation of flaviviruses like yellow fever, dating back to the founding of WRAIR.’

“For service members, there are concerns about infection during deployment and travel, but also in the continental United States, where most military installations are concentrated in southern states. There, climate conditions and mosquito populations favor Zika transmission, WRAIR officials say.

As of Nov. 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 149 cases of Zika infection were confirmed in the military health system, including four pregnant service members and one pregnant family member.

“Zika infection during pregnancy, the CDC says, can cause a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.

“Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as defects of the eye, hearing deficits and impaired growth. And reports have increased about Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika, CDC says.

“But even Zika infections without symptoms ‘can lead to severe birth defects and neurological complications,’ Zika study principal investigator Army Maj. (Dr.) Leyi Lin said, adding, ‘A safe and effective Zika vaccine that prevents infection in those at risk is a global public-health priority.’

“Flaviviruses like Zika are found mainly in mosquitoes and ticks and cause widespread morbidity and mortality worldwide. Other mosquito-transmitted viruses that are members of the flavivirus genus include yellow fever, or YF, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, or JE, and West Nile viruses, according to the CDC web page.

“’We want to assess the safety and immune response of the ZPIV vaccine in JE and yellow fever YF vaccine recipients because these vaccines may alter the response to the ZPIV vaccine,’ Lin said.

“‘Uniquely,’ he added, ‘illness as a result of natural infection from JE, YF or Zika could be more severe when prior flavivirus infection or vaccination exists. Our study assesses co-vaccination to learn how to reduce risk when protecting against circulating flaviviruses.’

“This is important for service members who are vaccinated against other flaviviruses and then stationed in or deployed to areas where Zika is becoming endemic, WRAIR scientists say.

“WRAIR’s inactivated flavivirus vaccine platform was the same technology the institute used to create its Japanese encephalitis vaccine, licensed in 2009.

“An earlier preclinical study found that rhesus monkeys vaccinated with ZPIV developed a strong immune response and were protected against two strains of Zika virus.

“The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health, helped identify the viral strain used in the ZPIV vaccine, supported the preclinical safety testing and is sponsoring the conduct of this trial.

WRAIR, NIAID and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, have established a joint research collaboration agreement to support the vaccine’s development.

“The Pilot Bioproduction Facility at WRAIR manufactured the ZPIV vaccine being used in Phase 1 clinical studies, and the Army recently signed a cooperative research and development agreement to transfer the ZPIV technology to Sanofi Pasteur to explore larger scale manufacturing and advanced development. BARDA recently awarded a six-year contract to Sanofi Pasteur to further develop this vaccine to licensure, according to the WRAIR release.

“WRAIR’s ZPIV candidate also will soon be part of an NIH trial that began in August. The NIH vaccine contains DNA that instructs volunteers’ cells to make certain Zika proteins that then illicit an immune response. As part of that study, WRAIR’s ZPIV vaccine will be given to volunteers as a booster after they receive the NIH DNA vaccine, WRAIR officials say.

“Three more Phase 1 trials using ZPIV are scheduled to begin this year, the WRAIR release noted:

St. Louis University researchers, through the NIAID-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units network, will examine the optimal dose of the vaccine to be used in larger studies.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School researchers will evaluate the safety and immune response from a compressed vaccine schedule.

• The Ambulatory Center for Medical Research, part of Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico, will examine the vaccine’s safety and immune response in participants who have already been naturally exposed to Zika or dengue viruses.

“The WRAIR trial that began Monday is sponsored by NIAID and funded by the Army and the Defense Department.”

Source: U.S. Army

October 13, 2016: Alphabet is Working to Squash the Zika Virus, Too

Verily has a few ideas for stopping the disease in its tracks.

“There are a few ways to kill off a pest: eliminate its food supply, or, make sure it can’t effectively procreate. Since the pest in question for this post is mosquitos, the former solution isn’t an option. So, Verily, the life-science division of Alphabet Inc., is addressing the Zika-carrier with a spin on the latter, according to MIT Technology Review.

“As is normal with the company’s far-fetched projects, the anti-mosquito experiments have mostly been done under the veil of secrecy. But because one of the tests involves driving vans into neighborhoods and releasing millions of altered male mosquitoes, Verily is pulling the curtain back a little bit.

“’People in some parts of the U.S. are asking for help,’ Verily’s vice president of engineering Linus Upson told Technology Review. ‘But if we are going to release mosquitoes in the real world, we need to talk to communities. This isn’t like launching a consumer internet service.’

“And he’s right. One method of stopping the diminutive airborne scourge is administering a gene drive, a DNA construct that turns poisonous when passed onto offspring. That’s still in its infancy. Another is infecting the bugs with the bacteria Wolbachia, which, when carried by males, causes females eggs to not be fertilized properly. From the sounds of it, that one is in the embryonic stages as well, but the closest to being tested and accepted by communities. For example, trials from other companies using methods similar to that haven’t caused any public outcry.

“The FDA has already approved using genetically modified mosquitoes to combat Zika, so perhaps Verily’s efforts will see the light of day sooner rather than later.”

Source: Engadget

October 12, 2016: Hurricane Matthew Could Help Zika Fight

“Hurricane Matthew started pounding the eastern coast of Florida as far south as Miami last Thursday afternoon. The storm has been described as historic and extremely dangerous. But there may be one benefit to the storm’s torrential rains: It could put a temporary halt on the mosquitoes that spread the Zika virus.

“To date, there have been 141 locally transmitted cases of Zika reported in Florida since the end of July.

“What does that have to do with a hurricane? Adult mosquitoes get washed away by heavy rain. This includes Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit the Zika virus. In the short term, from the first few days to about a week after the storm, the mosquito cycle is naturally interrupted — and that can have a beneficial effect on Zika transmission. In fact, initially after a big storm, there can be a decrease in all mosquitoes.

“The first mosquitoes to reappear aren’t the types that cause a public health concern.

“’We associate severe rain events like tropical events and hurricanes with increases in nuisance mosquitoes, not with disease-spreading (mosquitoes),’ said Ben Beard, chief of the Bacterial Diseases Branch in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases.

“Heavy rains and flooding wash away larvae from Zika-carrying mosquitoes’ breeding sites, such as tires, bottlecaps, bird baths and flower pots, he explained.

“Another benefit: The storm is hitting late in the season. ‘The mosquito population naturally declines starting in September. As the season begins to change, the mosquito threat naturally begins to go down, so in this sense, time is on our side,’ Beard said.

“Looking ahead to the next few weeks, it’s difficult to know the risk. The CDC is continuing to work with the Florida Department of Health to monitor the situation there.

“’We are watching this very closely,’ Beard said. ‘The bottom line is that as cases are identified, mosquito-control measures are enacted. In the meantime, there is lots of mosquito surveillance to identify these populations’ of infected mosquitoes.

Source: CNN

August 22, 2016: Mosquito Squad, America’s #1 Mosquito Eliminator, Honored by Inc. Magazine

For the sixth consecutive year, Mosquito Squad, the mosquito and tick eliminator, as been named one of America’s Fast Growing Companies by Inc. Magazine.

With a mission to rid the United States of disease-bearing mosquitoes that can transmit the Zika virus, Mosquito Squad continues its rapid growth with more 200 franchise locations nationwide, allowing Americans to enjoy their backyards, outdoor living areas, green spaces and outdoor entertaining.

Source: Inc. Magazine

August 17, 2016: Governor Abbott Addresses Zika Virus in Texas

“Governor Greg Abbott wants Texans to know his office is working tirelessly in the ongoing battle to combat against the Zika virus.”

“Abbott’s office released a video highlighting their efforts to ensure that communities across Texas are protected in the event of a local Zika outbreak. Abbott’s office says they’re working to raise awareness in Texas on Zika prevention and want to demonstrate some simple steps the public can take around their homes to keep mosquitoes away.

“’I have directed the Texas Department of State Health Services to work closely with our local partners and the CDC to prevent a Zika outbreak and prepare the strongest possible response plan,’ said Governor Abbott. ‘We have assembled millions in state and federal funds to attack the problem and we are working closely with local partners to monitor travel-related cases here in Texas. By working together we can stop the spread of this virus and keep Texans healthy.’

""Karyn Brown":http://greateraustin.mosquitosquad.com/what-our-greater-austin-customers-have-say/ of Mosquito Squad in Pflugerville said by August, her mosquito spraying business starts to slow down, but because of the growing Zika threat, business is staying steady.

“’I think it’s because of an increased level of anxiety just knowing this disease is out there and it’s as serious as it is,’ said Brown.

“Brown echoed Governor Abbott’s address by stressing the importance of eliminating standing water.

“’You should walk around your yard, look for places that collect water. If there is an area where sprinklers gather water. If your gutters are full. After the last rain, you could have water in there that could breed mosquitoes. Think about your neighbors that have small children that may be pregnant.’”

Source: CBS Austin KEYE TV

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