Since December 2013, a new mosquito-borne virus has emerged in our Hemisphere. Formerly found in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and Africa; Chikungunya is spreading like wildfire in the Caribbean. The number of reported cases went from 1 seven months ago to now over 166,000 and growing.
If there is any good news about this new mosquito virus it is that it is rarely fatal. Symptoms of the disease are fever, headache and joint pain. They usually last one week. Unfortunately, for some survivors the joint pain can persist for months or years. Chikungunya means “bent over” in the Tanzanian language, where it was first discovered. The name describes the posture and level of arthritic-like pain some patients suffer from the virus.
As of this writing, there are now more than 51 reported cases of Chikungunya in the US. All of the cases resulted in travelers contracting the virus in the Caribbean and experiencing symptoms in the US when they returned. So far, there has been no local transmission of the disease that we can tell. However, scientists at the CDC believe it is only a matter of time before we see local cases. It is expected we will experience isolated outbreaks in the US as the virus continues to spread across more states. It is now in 15 US states.
The mosquitoes that transmit the disease are the same species that transmit dengue fever. They are aggressive daytime feeders and have been endemic to the US for several years now. In the US, both species were mostly located in southern and southwestern states until recent years. As northeastern states have had warmer temperatures each year, these species of mosquitoes are now found here.
Stopping the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses worldwide isn’t possible. Underdeveloped countries and their economies are struggling and have limited resources to try to eliminate mosquito-borne illnesses. The most effective way to protect ourselves from mosquito diseases is to reduce the number of mosquito bites we receive.
One effective way to reduce your exposure to mosquitoes in Central Mass and prevent bites is to reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas you spend the most time outdoors. Perimeter sprays for your yard, also called barrier sprays, are the most effective and proven way to eliminate the number of mosquitoes around your home and yard. Barrier sprays eliminate mosquitoes on contact and keep eliminating them as they land on the leaves of the vegetation where they seek shade in during the day. Mosquito Squad of Central Mass uses a perimeter spray that will eliminate 90-95% of the mosquitoes in your yard. Our traditional spray is used to treat your yard about every 3 weeks.
Before spraying your yard, we will discuss ways you can mosquito-proof your yard. Reducing mosquitoes starts with eliminating the places where they live and breed, such as standing water in flowerpots, leaf debris, debris in rain gutters, etc. We call before every visit prior to spraying in order to let you know we’re on our way. We also leave behind a notice saying we treated your yard.
When you think of the potential medical costs, time lost from work, medication to treat symptoms, etc. using a barrier spray to prevent bites makes sense. Not only will you, your family and your pets be protected but consider how much more enjoyable your yard will be to use while grilling, relaxing and entertaining this summer.