There’s a lot of talk these days about West Nile Virus (WNV), and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). The news is filled with reports about how the Zika Virus is making its way north from South America. There are documented cases all along the east coast right up into New England. So, let’s take a moment to understand what we’re dealing with. We’ll first talk about EEE and WNV. In an upcoming blog, we’ll dive into the Zika virus.
Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare but serious viral disease that is also caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito with more severe symptoms than for WNV. EEE is an arbovirus, meaning that it’s spread by insects. Mosquitoes first acquire this virus from birds (the source) and then can transmit the infection to horses, other animals, and, in some cases, people.
West Nile Virus (WNV) was first detected in the US in 1999, in Queens, a part of New York City. WNV can live in many types of birds and is passed bird-to-bird by certain types of mosquitoes. Occasionally, an infected mosquito will pass the virus to humans or other animals.
Generally, most healthy people do not get sick from the virus, but it may cause symptoms. When a human gets ill from WNV, they may have symptoms including encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord); encephalitis and meningitis can also be caused by head injury, bacterial infections or, more commonly, other viral infections.
How EEE & WNV is spread
As already mentioned, infected mosquitoes are the primary known source for WNV and EEE transmission to humans. When a mosquito bites an infected bird, it becomes infected. The infected mosquito could then bite a human and transmit the infection. Person-to-person contact such as touching, kissing, or caring for someone who is infected will not transmit the virus. No known transmission has occurred from birds to people. But since dead birds may have the virus, one should not handle birds or any dead animals with their bare hands.
So what can you do to lessen the chances of being bit by an infected mosquito?
The season is upon us. As the cold bite of winter weather begins to fade and the promise of spring and summer months heighten with warmer temperatures, the average New Englander turns his/her thoughts to the outdoors. Hiking, camping, boating, fishing. Weekends at the beach, the Cape. Golfing, softball. Or just the obvious – enjoying the backyard with family and friends. Tag football out front with the neighborhood kids, taking the dog for a walk. Grilling on the outdoor grill. Kicking back with a cold one.
An idyllic picture such as this is what we’ve come to expect living in New England. But the ugly truth is that there are dangers as well. And in our line of work, that means West Nile Virus, EEE and other diseases carried about by the pesky mosquito as well as ticks and fleas.
The U.S. Department of Interior, through its Geological Survey division, has a very interesting website which catalogues the spread of known cases of WNV, EEE and other dangerous diseases. It’s called Disease Maps and you can go to it with this link, https://diseasemaps.usgs.gov/mapviewer/ and see for yourself what is happening in your back yard.
Zero in on northern Massachusetts and you’ll see that we’re right in the cross-hairs of 16 different varieties of mosquitoes. The adult Culex pipiens mosquito is the most common to this region and can carry the WNV. Humans and pets alike are susceptible to the dangers of WNV and EEE. And there appears to be the potential for a growth of reported cases.
That’s what first motivated us to begin Master Mosquito Control. Having been lifelong residents of the area, we are very familiar with the lifestyle, the climate and the expectations that go with living here. And we want to help you enjoy all the New England outdoors has to offer.
For a free quote and consultation, contact us at email@example.com or call 888-321-4486. We can be at your property the same day. We offer special pricing for first time customers and have a variety of synthetic and natural, organic solutions for your needs. Whether it’s a one time treatment or a season long program, you’ll be very happy with our expertise, service and affordability.
Here’s to a great summer of 2017!