Mosquito bites really make us sick.
Being bitten by mosquitoes is no fun, leaving you itchy and irritated for days. But mosquitoes and other biting insects can be more than a nuisance – they can be deadly. Disease cases from infected mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have tripled in the last 13 years, totaling more than 640,000 cases since 2004. Mosquito Joe of the First Coast wants everyone to enjoy the outdoors regardless of where they live or travel, so read up on these illnesses, where they are prevalent, and ways you can protect yourself, your family and pets against them.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV)
Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV) is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause severe symptoms such as brain infections. In the United States, few human cases are reported each year. According to the CDC, in 2018 only 6 human cases were reported nationwide. 3 cases were reported in Florida in 2018, and in 2019 it was detected in multiple states. Areas where cases are common include the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, as well as those around the Great Lakes Region. Although this disease is rare, it is important to recognize the symptoms and take preventative measures against this mosquito-borne illness.
Symptoms tend to develop 4 – 10 days after an infected mosquito bites and can range from mild to stronger symptoms.
The symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
Although, anyone can contract this disease, those under the age of 15 and over 50 are at a higher risk of a severe case of EEEV. If you or anyone you know starts to show any of the above symptoms it is important to contact your healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment.
West Nile is a common mosquito-borne virus spread in North America and has been reported in all continental United States. In 2018, 35 cases were reported in Florida, 30 of which were classified as neuroinvasive diseases such as meningitis or encephalitis. In 2019, West Nile had been detected in over 4 Florida Counties.
Those who do develop symptoms can experience:
- Body aches
- Joint pains
While anyone of any age can contract this severe illness, those over the age of 60 and those with existing health conditions are most at risk. Recovery time for WNV ranges from weeks to months. There is currently no vaccine for the West Nile virus. Therefore, if you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to see a health care provider as soon as possible.
The Zika virus is primarily spread by infected Aedes mosquitoes. Common symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. The illness is usually very mild with only 1 in 5 people exhibiting any symptoms. Those who have contracted Zika are unlikely to need hospitalization; severe illness or death is uncommon. However, Zika symptoms can go undetected and can be transmitted from human to human through sexual contact or from mother to unborn baby. Cases have been reported in the United States since 2015.
To learn more about the illness, visit our Zika virus resource page for more information.
Pronounced chik-en-gun-ye, this virus is transmitted via infected mosquitoes. Symptoms of chikungunya develop three to seven days after being bitten. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain but headache, muscle pain, joint swelling and rash have also been reported. While chikungunya typically isn’t fatal, it can be debilitating. In 2013, chikungunya was reported for the first time in the Americas in the Caribbean. Those traveling to this area are especially at risk and are encouraged to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants and stay indoors to avoid contracting the virus.
Dengue fever is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, usually the Aedes aegypti. More than one-third of the world’s population is at risk to contract the dengue virus. Dengue is most prevalent in tropic and subtropic areas, therefore international travelers are most at risk. Symptoms of dengue include a combination of high fever and severe headache, eye pain, joint pain, muscle pain, bone pain, rash or mild bleeding manifestation. There is no specific medication or treatment for dengue, those infected should seek medical attention, take pain relievers and drink plenty of fluids.
As if mosquitoes aren’t enough to worry about, ticks can pose a serious threat to your family’s health too. Tick-borne diseases have doubled in the last 13 years and accounted for more than 60 percent of all vector-borne diseases. Ticks have become a prevalent issue throughout the United States. Know the tell-tale signs of these illnesses transmitted by ticks to help keep your family protected.
It’s not just mosquitoes. Ticks carry disease too.
While there are numerous tick-borne illnesses, Lyme disease is a common illness affecting people in many parts of the United States. Those in the northeastern U.S., midwestern U.S. and along the Pacific coast are the most at risk. Lyme disease is transmitted though the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a unique skin rash called erythema migrans. If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can spread to joints, the heart and nervous system. However, if treated by antibiotics in the early stages, those with Lyme disease can recover.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) is a bacterial disease spread by the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain wood tick and the brown dog tick. Cases are reported throughout the United States but are most common in North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and loss of appetite are common symptoms of RMSF. Almost all patients develop a rash 2 to 4 days after fever begins. Early symptoms are not specific to RMSF so if you become ill after been bitten by a tick, immediately seek medical attention. While RMSF can be treated with antibiotics, if left untreated it can rapidly progress to a life-threatening illness.
But there is good news. Mosquito Joe of the First Coast can help.
The spread of these illnesses can be slowed and mitigated by what happens in your own yards. By learning how to control outdoor pests with the prevention techniques and services Mosquito Joe of the First Coast provides, you can reduce your family’s exposure to pests and the health risks they carry.
First, protect your family by following these tips to control mosquitoes and ticks in your yard:
- Eliminate standing water from your property. Stagnant water provides an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Empty birdbaths, children’s toys, kiddie pools, tire swings and gardening materials like watering cans and pots regularly.
- Routinely clear gutters and check for clogs so rainwater doesn’t accumulate.
- Use soil to fill in low areas in lawns and landscaped areas where rainwater may collect and stand for more than seven days.
- Ticks like to hide in trash and leaf litter. Remove these from your yard that so ticks won’t stand a chance.
- Mow your lawn frequently and clear tall grasses and brush around your home.
- Build fences around your property to inhibit animals such as deer, racoons and stray dogs from entering your yard.
Taking simple precautions like these will lessen the risk of dangerous pests that can spread disease. Mosquito Joe can be an added layer of defense for your family and pets by working to eliminate mosquitoes, fleas and ticks from your property. Call us today for more information!
Disclaimer: Mosquito Joe does not make any claims that using our products or services will prevent you or anyone you know from contracting a vector-borne illness. However, taking measures to reduce the mosquito and tick populations around your home is important to consider if you are in a highly affected region. Please leverage the resources above for more information and feel free to contact your local Mosquito Joe to learn more about how you can eliminate these pests around your yard.