We live in a dangerous world. You can probably list several dangerous animals right off the top of your head. But, if you're like most people, the animals that come to mind are polar bears, lions, rattlesnakes, or some type of exotic spider. But none of these are in the top 4 dangerous animals in the world. The actual top four are the hippopotamus, saltwater crocodile, African elephant, and the humble mosquito. Why is the mosquito on this list? Because the diseases carried by mosquitoes are linked to more than a million deaths in the world each year. No other animal comes close. So, what does this mean for residents of Kansas City?
The number one mosquito-borne killer is malaria. Due to many factors, malaria is not as much of a treat in the United States. According to the CDC, there are only around 1,500 cases of malaria reported in the U.S. annually, with approximately 5 deaths. This is good news for Americans, but malaria isn't the only mosquito-borne virus out there.
In the U.S., the deadliest virus spread by mosquitoes is West Nile virus. CNN reported in May of 2018 that about 2,000 people in the United States have died from West Nile since it was first detected in New York City in 1999, but not every West Nile infection leads to death. Often, this disease is accompanied by flu-like symptoms, and 80% of infected people show no symptoms of the disease at all. But this low symptom rate actually helps this virus spread further and affect more people.
There is a long list of mosquito-borne viruses. Some you probably recognize, viruses such as Zika virus and Dengue fever. Some you may not recognize, such as yellow fever, Chikungunya, and several forms of encephalitis. And, if you're not aware, encephalitis is defined as an "acute inflammation of the brain." According to Medical News Today, encephalitis is responsible for an estimated 19,000 hospitalizations and $650 million in hospitalization costs. Early symptoms include fever, photophobia, and headache.
Few people are unaware of Zika virus. It dominated the headlines when it spread through Florida and Texas in 2016. And for good reason. Zika is linked to microcephaly in unborn children. Microcephaly is a birth defect that leads to an abnormal smallness of the head and incomplete brain development. This can occur at any point in a pregnancy. So, it isn't surprising that health agencies are watching this virus closely.
Zika isn't the only virus making headlines. PCT magazine had a recent article on the Keystone virus which can cause a rash to spread across the stomach, arms, back, and even face. It can also cause encephalitis to occur. What makes this virus headline-worthy is that it was never previously found in humans.
What does all this mean for Kansas City residents? It is important to take mosquitoes seriously. They aren't just a nuisance pest. Their connection to illness has been long documented, but these illnesses are on the rise and new illnesses are beginning to affect humans.
Be sure to put mosquito repellent on when going into an area where mosquitoes are known to be.
Wear light colors to make it harder for mosquitoes to target you.
Wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible.
Use screens to keep mosquitoes out.
Use fans to prevent mosquitoes from landing on you.
Refrain from using bug zappers which lure mosquitoes in but are ineffective at killing female (biting) mosquitoes.
Reduce still water in your yard to prevent breeding. It only takes 1 inch of water for mosquitoes to breed, and mosquitoes can develop from egg to adult in just over a week, under the right conditions.
When you invest in mosquito control, you invest in the health of your family. You also get your backyard back. Activities in your yard are going to be a whole lot nicer without mosquitoes around.
Does it work? Some of our customers see dramatic results, but results can vary. There are many conditions that inspire mosquito reproduction and some of them can't be controlled with residential mosquito control. While we can't guarantee that you'll have NO mosquitoes, we can definitely guarantee that you'll have fewer mosquitoes than you've ever had. Give it a shot and find out! You may find yourself on our long list of happy customers who invest in our mosquito control program year after year. Give us a call to get started.
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