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How to Stay Protected from the World’s Deadliest Animal
The National Pest Management Association is sharing tips to avoid mosquito bites this summer
FAIRFAX, Va. (July 6, 2022) – Chances are, you’ve been bitten by a mosquito and spent days struggling to fight the itch. Believe it or not, mosquitoes are considered the world’s deadliest animal as more people die from the diseases transmitted by a mosquito than any other animal on Earth. With summer in full swing, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is offering information about mosquitoes and the diseases they carry to keep consumers protected.
“Once a mosquito bite no longer itches, it can be easy to brush them off, and perhaps even forget that you were bitten in the first place” said Dr. Jorge Parada, Medical Advisor for the National Pest Management Association. “Unfortunately, lingering symptoms similar to that of a cold, such as fever, headaches and muscle pain, can signify something more serious going on.”
Symptoms of mosquito-borne diseases typically present within a few days after being bitten. While medicine has made it easier to prevent, diagnose and treat mosquito-borne illnesses, these are the diseases most prevalent in the U.S.:
- West Nile Virus is the leading mosquito-borne disease in the United States and most who have it do not show any symptoms. However, one in five of those infected develop West Nile fever, which in addition to fevers typically includes other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Immunocompromised and persons over 50 years of age are at risk of developing serious complications such as encephalitis and death.
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a rare, more deadly, mosquito-borne illness. Approximately 30 percent of cases are fatal and most who survive have ongoing neurological issues. Symptoms of a severe infection, or encephalitic infection, is behavioral changes, seizures and coma.
- Dengue Fever can be caused by four related viruses: viruses 1, 2, 3 or 4. About 1 in 4 people infected get sick, with cases varying in terms of severeness. Severe dengue is life-threatening and requires hospitalization.
“Your likelihood of being bitten also depends on a few factors, such as your blood type, your body temperature, how hard you breath, and if you’re wearing scents as mosquitos detect and are attracted to carbon dioxide, as well as to many fragrances like perfumes and floral scents.” added Dr. Parada.
Prevention is the best way to avoid exposing yourself to mosquitoes, says Michael Bentley, Ph.D., entomologist for the National Pest Management Association. “Avoid outside activity at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. If you are going to be outside, wear light-colored clothing and always use insect repellent with at least 20-percent DEET or another EPA registered insect repellent," he said. "If it is cool enough, wear long sleeves and pants to cover up as much exposed skin as possible. If you're struggling with mosquitoes on your property, be sure to contact a licensed pest control professional to treat the problem.”
About the National Pest Management Association
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests. For more information, visit PestWorld.org or follow @PestWorld on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok and YouTube.