school-aged kid learns about various plagues and black deaths and yellow fevers that killed off massive numbers of people during times when the medical community didn’t have as much knowledge as they do now. If you were like me, you were glad to live in the times when an epidemic couldn’t possibly wipe out millions of us. Unbeknownst to my younger self, humans are dying from mosquito-borne diseases in massive quantities despite our abilities to prevent it.
MOSQUITOES. THE DEADLIEST CREATURE OF ALL TIME?
No teeth, an average life span of less than two months, and living their full life on average within a few hundred feet radius of where they hatch, mosquitoes are not your dramatic movie villain. According to megacatch they’ve been around since the Jurassic period. Out-surviving such scary predators as the T-Rex, the mosquito is 210 million years old.
Humans have been well aware of its annoyance since the days of Aristotle in 300 B.C., he wrote about the existence of the mosquito and pondered what the mosquitos’ purpose was. As long as mosquitoes have been pestering people they have been a killer. While there is no proof of how Alexander the Great died in June of 323 B.C., the accounts of his death have been attributed to mosquito-borne disease. The king died after suffering 10 days with a high fever, many say this was a case of malaria.
THE LONG FOUGHT WAR ON MOSQUITOES
Fast forward to the Spanish-American War in 1898. Walter Reed, a scientist and doctor investigated the spread of typhoid fever within military camps, which lead him to investigate yellow fever outbreaks. It was previously thought to have been spread via clothing and bedding but through his epidemiology work he discovered that mosquito bites were spreading yellow fever. Thanks to Walter Reed yellow fever was almost eradicated (although the last few decades there has been a resurgence in high risk areas of Africa and South America).
Today the fight against mosquito-borne illnesses continues in some high-profile campaigns. One of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates is leading a global effort to fight malaria with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on the global fight against malaria every year, the disease is still not eradicated. In fact, malaria still kills over 600,000 people every year.
While efforts are not going without some successes, all the money in the world cannot stop the mosquito from doing its damage on the human race. The United States only recently (1949) eradicated malaria within our country. And while industrialized nations are mostly free of malaria, 3rd world countries and countries with a specifically mosquito friendly climate, are still suffering the same epidemic we so recently overcame.
Here in the United States we still face less frequent but still dangerous mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, Chikungunya and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). With world travel being what it is, we all have a stake in the eliminating mosquitoes game as we vacation in places where mosquito nets protect us from malaria, Dengue and yellow fever.
Join Bill Gates and Walter Reed by eliminating mosquitoes on your own property with help from Mosquito Squad of Franklin & Framingham. Our traditional barrier spray eliminates mosquitoes on contact and continues to work for up to 21 days. By lowering the populations of mosquitoes in your yard by 85-90% we can help keep you and your family safe from itchy bites and tick-borne diseases this season.