West Nile virus is still a threat —make sure you’re fully protected

Cluster of mosquitoes on skin

In May 2018, the CDC released an alarming report stating that diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks had more than tripled between 2004 and 2016. Among the most widely-spread mosquito-borne illnesses is West Nile virus (WNV), which is spread from birds to mosquitoes, and then from mosquitoes to humans. Most cases of West Nile virus are mild, and many people who are infected with it don’t even show symptoms. However, about 20% of people develop symptoms such as a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. It does have the potential to be dangerous, with one in every 150 people developing symptoms that lead to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord).

West Nile virus has been found in all of the continental United States, with South Carolina being no exception. In 2016, Shaw Air Force Base found WNV in mosquitoes while doing routine testing, and it was confirmed in people in at least four counties, including Sumter, the same year. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), there were 17 confirmed cases of WNV in our state in 2017.

Shaw Air Force Base does a great deal in routine testing of mosquitoes, as well as trying to control the mosquito population. They employ larvicide throughout Shaw to bodies of standing water, which eliminates mosquitoes in their larval state and prevents them from becoming biting adult mosquitoes. This is a very good step in halting the mosquito population in large areas, but larviciding alone is not enough to protect people. Why? There are couple reasons.

The first is that halting larval mosquitoes from maturing does nothing to eliminate mosquitoes that are already hungry adults, flying around and looking for their next blood meal. Even if there were any adulticide measures in place (such as fogging trucks), that measure only knocks down mosquitoes the are in the path of the fog. Now, consider that Culex pippins the main transmitter of West Nile virus, has the potential to fly up to 3 miles. That leaves a lot of room for a hungry mosquito who just got her blood meal from an infected bird to lay her batch of around 300 eggs a mile away from any area hit by larvicide or adulticide, and then fly another mile for for her next blood meal, which could very well be you or someone you love.

Another reason why Shaw’s larviciding methods aren’t enough to protect you and your loved ones from WNV or any other mosquito-borne disease is that while, yes, the above scenario of a traveling Culex pipiens is very possible and does happen, the mosquitoes most likely to bite you are actually the ones who were born right in your own yard, or in a nearby neighbor’s.

The ideal protection from WNV-carrying or other potential disease-carrying mosquitoes is with Mosquito Squad’s barrier protection. Not only do we do treat potential mosquito-breeding areas in your yard with larvicide, but we then cover your entire yard with our specially-developed, micro-encapsulated formula that knocks down adult mosquitoes on contact and continues to eliminate them for three weeks afterwards. Our barrier protection is guaranteed to eliminate nearly 90% of mosquitoes or your money back. Because we developed it to be micro-encapsulated, that means that it releases its active ingredients gradually, much like an “extended release” prescription that one might take. Any mosquitoes that even land on a leaf that has been treated with our odorless, colorless formula will be eliminated shortly afterward.

While we applaud Shaw Air Force Base for their efforts and can’t thank them enough for their service and keeping us safe, Mosquito Squad is here to pick up where they leave off and offer homeowners continuous protection from mosquitoes in their own yards. For uninterrupted, mosquito-free summers, we offer seasonal plans so that you can enjoy your yard without the constant swatting, smacking, itching, and worrying if the bug that bit you will make you sick. Call Mosquito Squad today to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones from mosquitoes on your own property.  We look forward to helping you fight the bite and taking back your yard!