So you’re sitting out at your pool or having dinner on your patio and your arm starts to itch. You look down and see the obvious sign of fresh mosquito bite. Thankfully, our first thought does not have to be about malaria, which kills over 3 million people a year. We do, however, have a few mosquito borne illnesses that we do have to worry about.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, native to Georgia, gets infected with West Nile Virus when it bites a bird that is infected with the disease. The virus is then spread when the mosquito bites humans. Most people who have West Nile have no symptoms, or the symptoms may be so mild that people may not even realize that they have the virus. In rare cases, West Nile can lead to swelling of the brain, swelling of the spinal cord, or swelling of the tissues around the brain and spinal cord. But very few people with West Nile will get a severe illness that affects the brain or spinal cord. 2012 saw the highest number of West Nile cases in Georgia at over 150.
LaCrosse encephalitis is another disease transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. Most people infected by LAC virus will not get sick. If people do become ill, symptoms usually occur about 3 to 7 days after the mosquito bite. Persons who become ill usually only have mild flu‐like symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting. In some cases, a person can develop viral meningitis (inflammation or swelling of the protective covering of the brain and spinal cord) encephaltis with changes in mental status or consciousness, paralysis, seizures, and possibly death.
Heartworm Disease in dogs is another mosquito borne illness. In fact, only the bite of an infected mosquito can cause heartworm disease. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms. And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why prevention is so important. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease. And if you have mosquitoes and you have animals, you’re going to have heartworms. It’s just that simple. It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live 5-7 years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.
Finally, a disease that is not yet here but is on its way is Chikungunya. Chikungunya (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bites of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which are found in Georgia. The most common symptoms of chikungunya are acute, high fever and intense joint pain. The infected person may also experience headaches, muscle pain, swollen joints, and/or a rash. Dr. Gio J. Baracco, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told Healthline that the mosquitoes spreading the virus are already in the southeastern part of the U.S. “This fact, and the large amount of travelers passing through South Florida en route to and from the Caribbean islands, makes it very likely that chikungunya will be introduced into the U.S.,” he said.
Protecting your family from mosquitoes is not only a matter nuisance control, but also a matter of safety. Call Mr. Mister Mosquito Control for a free quote today: 404-941-0720.