The Deadliest Animal in the World
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Started by metmike - July 30, 2020, 2:26 p.m.

Guest News Brief by Kip Hansen – 29 July 2020

featured_imae_mosquitoes“What makes mosquitoes so dangerous? Despite their innocuous-sounding name—Spanish for “little fly”—they carry devastating diseases. The worst is malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people every year; another 200 million cases incapacitate people for days at a time. It threatens half of the world’s population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Other mosquito-borne diseases include dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis.”  


Today, dengue is only reported to be locally acquired in the very southern tip of Florida, where many residents come and go from the Caribbean Islands. So far this year, there has been one (1) locally transmitted case of dengue. [ source ]

The same is true for the malaria-vector mosquito, Anopheles:

malaria_USAs can be seen, malaria was ubiquitous throughout the Eastern United States in 1882, except for in the eastern mountain ranges. By 1932, it has been beaten back to a few hold-out areas, but broke out in 1934-1935.

After a long campaign against malaria, the CDC currently reports:  “Now approximately 1,500 malaria cases and five deaths are reported in the United States annually, mostly in returned travelers.”

2.    To nearly eliminate human cases of mosquito-vectored diseases is fairly simple in a country like the United States, and almost impossible in less-developed countries.

By metmike - July 30, 2020, 2:27 p.m.
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A typical campaign poster (this one in the Caribbean) to eliminate breeding sites:


These campaigns are not limited to the Third World – see this  Fight The Bite game from Miami/Dade County, Florida.

In my personal experience in humanitarian work in the Caribbean, the local officials almost never have the equipment or chemicals necessary for wide-spread mosquito control and have only limited, already-stretched-to-the-limit medical resources.  It is heart-breaking.

The long fight against mosquito-vectored diseases has involved DDT – which itself is a very controversial issue – but is not the primary focal point of the fight.  Many local mosquito populations have developed varying degrees of resistance to DDT.  It is, however, still effective when used to treat indoor walls and bed-nets.

[And NO – “bringing DDT back” into wide use in Africa will not be an (or the)  instant silver bullet solution to mosquito-vectored diseases. That is a myth.  DDT is already widely used in Africa. ]

Then there are:

Permethrins  Treat clothing and gear

    • Use permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
      • Permethrin is an insecticide that kills or repels mosquitoes.
      • Permethrin-treated clothing provides protection after multiple washings.

For years, while living on our sailboat in the Caribbean, we regularly treated our hatch screens and cabin surfaces with permethrin – and had great success with it.

In the United States, synthetic pyrethroids are used in aerial spraying to control adult mosquitoes along with malathion and naled.

Mosquito-vectored diseases are a major, world-wide health problem and the use of insecticides in their control remains a hugely controversial topic at all levels of government and a matter of much concern from health and environmental groups.   The controversies swirling around the issue are highly politicized.

One thing that is certain: The propaganda meme that Climate Change will spread mosquito-vectored diseases is categorically false and based on gross, seemingly intentional,  misunderstanding of the mechanisms involved in disease spread.

By metmike - July 30, 2020, 2:31 p.m.
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West Nile virus

 Mosquito on white background

West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.  It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.

By metmike - July 30, 2020, 2:32 p.m.
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West Nile Virus Activity by State 2020


West Nile Virus Activity by State – United States, 2020 (as of July 28, 2020)

Map of the United States showing West Nile Virus Activity by State in 2020. See Data table below.

*WNV human disease cases or presumptive viremic blood donors. Presumptive viremic blood donors have a positive screening test which has not necessarily been confirmed.

†WNV veterinary disease cases, or infections in mosquitoes, birds, or sentinel animals.

Data table: WNV infections in mosquitoes, birds, sentinel animals, or veterinary animals have been reported to CDC ArboNET from the following states for 2020:

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

West Nile virus infections in humans have been reported to CDC ArboNET from the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Texas.