Summer is peak season for the world’s deadliest animal — the mosquito — and news reports across the country indicate that we are experiencing one of the heaviest mosquito seasons in a while. The National Pest Management Association ( NPMA ) is urging people to protect themselves and their properties from mosquitoes and is sharing important information about dangerous mosquito-borne diseases prevalent throughout the U.S.
“While malaria, the deadly mosquito-borne disease that plagues other parts of the world, is not prevalent in the U.S., there are several other diseases such as West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and dengue fever that pose a threat to human health here within our borders,” said Dr. Jorge Parada, medical advisor for the NPMA.
West Nile Virus is a serious illness that is carried from infected birds to humans via mosquitoes. The most prevalent mosquito-borne disease in the U.S., it has been detected in all 48 continental states, D.C. and Puerto Rico, peaking in late summer and early fall. According to the CDC, 664 West Nile virus cases were reported in the U.S. in 2020 and 11 cases have been reported in 2021 thus far.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a rare disease caused by a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. This illness can result in two types of illness, systemic or the deadlier, encephalitic.
Dengue Fever, also called “Breakbone Fever,” was virtually nonexistent prior to 1981, but had spread throughout the Caribbean, Central America and most of South America. Most people diagnosed with dengue fever in the United States contract the disease while traveling abroad, but there have also been a small amount of locally transmitted cases in Florida, Texas and Hawaii.
“Mosquito populations are difficult to control as they can rapidly multiply and need only half an inch of standing water to lay their eggs,” said Cindy Mannes, senior vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “People can help reduce the threat of mosquito-borne disease by eliminating various sources of standing water around their properties, which are ideal breeding grounds for this insect.”
To reduce mosquito breeding grounds, NPMA recommends taking a walk around the property once a week to dump stagnant water sources, paying attention to bird baths, kid toys, pool covers, tires, planters, drainage areas and more. Property owners can also clean out gutters that hold debris or leaves and screen windows and doors. For help controlling mosquito populations in your yard or around your property, contact a licensed pest control professional.