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Common Mosquito-Borne Diseases In Pennsylvania

How Mosquitoes Are A Big Problem

While mosquitoes are much more of a threat in tropical regions and states that have large marshes, swamps, or wetlands, they are still a problem here in Pennsylvania. Not only are they a problem, it is a problem that continues to grow. That is why it is important for all resident of the state to know what diseases mosquitoes can carry, and how mosquito control works to control these disease-spreading insects.

a mosquito biting the neck of a human resident living in pennsylvania

Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Mosquitoes around the world carry a wide range of diseases that can cause intense muscle aches, birth defects in unborn children, muscle weakness, paralysis, flu-like symptoms, neurological illness, high fever, hemorrhaging, and even death. In fact, mosquitoes are indirectly linked to more than a million deaths worldwide each year. Fortunately, the impact of mosquitoes is not as severe in the United States and even less of an impact here in Pennsylvania. But, there is still cause to take precautions. 

There are many viruses that have made an appearance in Pennsylvania, most of them, like Eastern equine encephalitis, chikungunya, and canine heartworm (which affects only dogs) have had only a slight impact. And, while Zika has gotten a lot of news coverage, it is left to be seen whether or not it will develop into an outbreak here. The only virus, so far, that has managed to cause real concern is West Nile virus.

What You Need To Know About West Nile

  • General symptoms of the virus: fever, rash, head and body aches, joint pain, fatigue, weakness, flu-like symptoms, and swollen lymph glands.

  • Serious symptoms: neurologic illness, tremors, seizures, disorientation, paralysis, coma, and death. Some neurologic effects may be permanent. 10 percent of those who develop a neurologic effect will die.

  • Level of the threat: 70 to 80 percent of people who contract West Nile virus show no symptoms at all.

  • Cure: There is no vaccine for West Nile virus.

  • What is being done: Each year, cases of human contracted West Nile virus are tracked and tallied up in several Pennsylvania counties, as part of an ongoing surveillance program.

How Mosquito Control Works 

The threat of mosquito-borne viruses is ever-changing. It is prudent that we do all we can to control mosquito populations. Mosquito reduction is the first line of defense health agencies trust to protect us. 

Mosquitoes are moisture pests. They are born in still water, and prefer to be in areas where there is more moisture. They also shy away from being out when the sun is high in the sky. For this reason, they can be actively destroyed during the day when they hide. This is one of the primary reasons mosquito reduction is so effective. Not only does it eliminate mosquitoes on contact, it makes hiding locations a death trap for other mosquitoes that come to hide. And, since a single female mosquito can lay 100 eggs every third night, eliminating even one female mosquito can have a big impact on mosquito populations.

A typical mosquito will not travel more than 300-500 yards in its lifetime--which is about 2 months for a female mosquito. When mosquitoes are actively destroyed where they hide, and those resting areas are coated with a knockdown agent, the vectors for diseases are broken. Essentially, treated areas become buffer zones that stop the spread of viruses.

Mosquito control also focuses on the removal and treatment of mosquito breeding sites. When larvicide is introduced into areas of still water it actively kills any eggs present, and makes the water unsuitable for female mosquitoes, for a time.

All of this works together to reduce mosquito populations and make it harder for mosquito-borne diseases to find a vector. When combined with personal protection, there is a significant reduction in bites.

Personal Mosquito Prevention Tips

  • Wear repellent on skin or clothing.

  • Wear light colors to become a harder target.

  • Refrain from going outside in the morning or evening when mosquitoes are more active.

  • Refrain from going to wetlands or marshes.

  • Wear clothing that has netting.

  • Avoid consuming alcohol outside where there are mosquitoes.

  • Be aware that mosquitoes are attracted to an increased body temperature, carbon dioxide emissions, and sweat.

  • If there is no breeze, make one. Use a fan to keep mosquitoes off of you.

Mosquito Control Services From The Professionals

Moyer Pest Control offers comprehensive pest control solutions for all household pests, including specialized treatments for mosquitoes. To request a free pest inspection, or to get started with mosquito control services for your home, contact the mosquito control experts at Moyer Pest Control today!

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