As the eyes of the world are on the Rio Olympics and the threat of the Zika Virus, in Minneapolis we face danger from other dangerous mosquito-borne illnesses that are already here. The mosquitoes that carry Zika Virus are present in Minnesota, but in very small numbers along the Southern part of the state. With 51 species of mosquitoes, we face different mosquito disease risks, including West Nile Virus and La Crosse Encephalitis.
West Nile Virus in Minneapolis
West Nile Virus is a yearly threat that usually occurs in the later more humid part of summer. Transmitted by the common Culex tarsalis mosquito, West Nile Virus can affect humans and animals alike. The first human case of West Nile Virus in Minnesota for 2016 was just reported this week, affecting a man in Effie, MN. With flu-like symptoms that can include headache, body aches, nausea, joint pains, vomiting or diarrhea, West Nile Virus can be brutal, but only about 20-30% of those infected will show any symptoms. Less than 1% of those who become ill will develop a serious neurological illness such as meningitis or encephalitis. Seek medical care immediately if you suspect you have transmitted West Nile Virus.
La Crosse Encephalitis
La Crosse Encephalitis can be transmitted to human by an infected tree hole mosquito (part of the Aedesfamily). According to Manakto Free Press, tree hole mosquitoes thrive in wooded areas. The CDC reports symptoms La Crosse Encephalitis can include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and lethargy. Severe neuroinvasive illness can occur and does most frequently in children younger than 16 years old. Seizures can be common with severe illness, but less than 1% of cases become fatal. Patients who suspect La Crosse Encephalitis should see a doctor immediately for testing and supportive treatment. While there is no cure or specific antiviral treatment, symptoms should be managed by a doctor, especially if they become severe.
Both West Nile Virus and La Crosse Encephalitis are rare, but because they can be so dangerous, it is vital that the residents of Minneapolis be aware of symptoms. It is also important to protect yourself during the latter parts of summer when the risk increases. If you are spending time outdoors in untreated areas be sure to use repellant on exposed skin. At home, Mosquito Squad of the Twin Cities can eliminate up to 90% of the mosquitoes on your property with our traditional mosquito barrier spray. After all, avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites is your best line of defense. Call today for a free quote.