The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The World Health Organization (WHO) and various Environmental Health Department are warning people in many areas of the United States to brace themselves for the upcoming mosquito season.
To date 48 countries and territories in the Americas confirmed Zika transmissions since 2015. (WHO)
While California had no reports in 2016 or concerns regarding the Zika virus mosquitoes, this year the wet winter and warm spring created the ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes.
ZIKA VIRUS MOSQUITOES EXPECTING TO MULTIPLY
It is frightening that experts predict that the Zika virus carrying mosquitoes (Aedes Aegypti) will multiply plentiful across the southern and eastern states this upcoming summer. The Aedes mosquito could spread as far as New York City and Los Angeles. This is mainly due to the warm winter and to favorable summer conditions.
Interestingly, University of Georgia scientists and researchers fear that 26 mosquito species across multiple geneses can potentially carry the Zika virus. Various species tend to live in a specific region, the model indicated, and seven mosquito species in the United States could become hosts for the Zika virus.
One species tolerant to colder temperatures is the Aedes Albopictus, the Asian Tiger mosquito, that is moving its way northwards. The Albopictus is also an invasive species that carries, Dengue fever, West-Nile fever, Yellow fever and Encephalitis.
This could mean that the virus potentially could spread across the Canadian border. Travelers returning from Zika infected regions can also spread the virus.
COMPLICATIONS FROM INFECTIONS ARE UNDERESTIMATED
A new study published by the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) suggests that complications from Zika infections are underestimated. During the study 1118 Canadian travelers returning from the Americas, 41 carried the Zika virus. (Oct 2015 – Sep 2016).
2 of the infected had symptoms resembling those of Guillain-Barré syndrome, 1 with Zika viral meningitis. The study observed the full clinical spectrum of acute Zika virus, including adverse fetal and neurological outcomes.
TIPS TO COMBAT MOSQUITOES
Prevention efforts should be on everyone’s list this year and begin long before the bug season starts. Here are some tips to make your summer mosquito safe:
- Drain and remove excess water in ditches or areas where water accumulates.
- Remove stagnate water, including planting containers, bird baths, dog bowls. Fill with fresh water regularly.
- Check your yard for: Old tires where water accumulates easily, garbage lids, kids toys, inflatable pools, rain barrels, tarps on BBQ’s, boats, wood piles, etc.
- Clean out gutters where debris accumulates and collects water.
- Mosquito netting on porches or pergolas can actually look very stylish adding a decorative touch to your backyard.
- Plants that help deter mosquitoes:
Plant lemongrass and citronella plants near sitting areas,
Catnip (be prepared to have a few feline friends over),
- Bird Feeders
Birds love to feast on bugs. Attract them by hanging a few bird feeders around your yard.
- Bat Houses
Bats are incredible insect hunters and love mosquitoes.
- Cover Your Grub
Use food covers when dining outside, and remove food after finished.
- Add a Breeze
Standing fans or ceiling fans also will help keep bugs away.
- Lawn, Shrubs and Leaves
Keep lawn cut short.
Remove old debris & leaves underneath shrubs.
Remove leaves especially in low areas where water can accumulate, near drains & ditches.
- Insect Repellent
Use a non-toxic, chemical free natural repellent.
Many natural repellents on the market, are very effective, safe and some repel better than DEET products.
A note on candles and scented torches: Citronella candles and torches only work if you are in very close proximity to the burning scent, less than 1-2 feet.