Mosquitoes are Blood-suckers and Disease Carriers
Mosquitoes are problematic for reasons beyond their bite. These blood-sucking pests are certainly annoying, especially when you are trying to relax at your home. Yet they also have the potential to spread disease. Mosquitoes transmit diseases between people as well as animals. Such diseases are usually caused by diminutive parasites or viruses. A mosquito that bites an infected individual or an infected animal stands an excellent chance of picking up the virus with her blood snack. Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t negatively impact the mosquito. Rather, the virus reproduces within the mosquito only to be spread to future victims.
Mosquito-borne Diseases in the Greater Tampa Area
The three most concerning mosquito-borne diseases in are West Nile fever, Eastern equine encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis. Each is spurred by viruses transmitted through the bite of a mosquito carrying the disease. Mosquitoes pick up viruses when feasting on blood. Once a few weeks pass, the virus has the potential to increase to high numbers. As mosquitoes feed on victims’ blood, they salivate. This salivation releases the virus. The new host stands a decent chance of developing symptoms and feeling ill. Let’s take a look at the top diseases caused by mosquitoes.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
This virus, commonly referred to with the acronym of EEE, is transmitted to humans and horses by way of mosquitoes. The source of EEE infection is birds. The virus is found all along the eastern portion of the United States from the South Florida region up to the New England states. Even some portions of the Midwest are plagued by this disease. Thankfully, human beings and horses do not develop enough of this virus within their bloodstream to transmit it to others.
The West Nile Virus
Mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus to human beings with surprising ease. If this virus is transmitted, it can spur nasty encephalitis. West Nile stems from Uganda’s West Nile province. It is similar to St. Louis Encephalitis. Both are problematic for Tampa residents as well as others who reside in the sunshine state. West Nile epidemics have occurred in areas ranging from South Africa to Romania, France and beyond. It was initially documented in the United States in August of 1999 when an epidemic occurred in New York City.
St. Louis Encephalitis
This virus also referred to as “SLE”, is transmitted to people and other animals through mosquitoes. Specifically, mosquitoes in the genus Culex transmit SLE. An SLE infection leads to viremia that can last several days. SLE spurs mild illness including headaches and possible meningitis. There is also the potential for encephalitis to develop that has the potential to progress to the point that it induces a coma and even death. Human beings are a “dead end” host, meaning they can’t transmit SLE to others after infected with this disease. Inapparent SLE infection is especially common in young people. Encephalitis that has the potential to lead to coma and death is much more common in senior citizens.
Highlands J Virus
Highlands J Virus, referred to as HJ, is an alphavirus transmitted by mosquitoes. It has plenty of similarities to the EEE virus, especially when it comes to the natural cycle. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes to songbirds yet it has the potential to reach humans and horses.
Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes in subtropical and tropical spaces. It is especially common in urban and suburban settings. This arboviral disease (a disease a human can become infected with from an insect bite). affects upwards of 100 million individuals per year. It causes fevers, headaches, general pain, and an array of other physical maladies.
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