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Mosquitoes – More than Just a Nuisance

October 1, 2012

Note: I wrote this article a couple of years ago but never posted it.  It really is hitting home this year, so I am posting it now.  We have had over 80 cases of West Nile virus and 5 deaths in East Texas this summer; so mosquitoes are a problem even in the “developed” world.  Read, and be warned about these little killers.

Nearly anywhere that you live in this world you will encounter mosquitoes.  Most people these days think of mosquitoes as a nuisance; but the fact is, they are a deadly danger to human health.  Mosquitoes are fairly well controlled in most developed nations, so the diseases that they carry are no longer a major health risk.  In developing nations mosquitoes are responsible for huge numbers of illnesses and deaths, and the cost to these nations is very high in terms of dollars, lost production, and weakening of future generations.

What would happen in developed nations if government agencies could no longer carry out mosquito control programs.  Well just look at the mosquito related health problems in some of the developing nations around the world.  According to a 2010 report of the World Health Organization there are over 225 million cases of malaria (a mosquito borne illness) throughout the world every year. Nearly 800,000 people die from malaria each year.  The majority of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and most of these victims are children.

Because of changing climate, some mosquito borne diseases, like West Nile virus, that were once considered “tropical” diseases have begun to spread to the temperate zones.  I live in Texas, and in recent years there have been several cases of West Nile virus. This is a disease that has never been known in this area, and it has appeared in spite of the aggressive mosquito control programs that we have.

So the bottom line is: government break-down equals no more mosquito control programs which equals you’re on your own as far as preventing mosquito borne illnesses.  You need to prepare for this.  What are some things that you can do to prevent mosquito borne disease?

1. Drain standing water where mosquitoes can breed.

2. Avoid going out at dusk and nighttime (the time when mosquitoes are most active).

3. Wear protective clothing.

4. Wear insect repellant. (You need to lay in a good supply of DEET)

5. Make sure that you have screens on all windows and doors.

6. Sleep under a mosquito net if you are out doors.

Most of these precautions against mosquitoes used to be common place in the USA and other now developed nations, but with modern mosquito control we have fallen out of the habit of protecting ourselves.  It’s time to start thinking about them again, because a mosquito can kill you just as dead as a bullet from an AK-47.

From → Medical

3 Comments
  1. The other day, I heard from a mosquito expert that even a leaf on the ground holding a bit of water could breed mosquitoes. However, your precautions are very sensible and correct.

  2. Deet is a horrible chemical, a blight upon humankind and will certainly give you cancer. A natural solution is horse apples: the fruit of the Osage orange tree (also known as bois d’arc). These trees are plentiful all over America as farmers and ranchers use them as natural fences to line thier property. Horse apples were placed inside our great grandparents homes to keeo away insects and spiders. You can collect them along the roadway or ask a farmer, he has more than he can ever use.

    • I agree with you that DEET is not a good thing and I know that some people have very bad reactions to it. I generally use citronella oil which is another old-time bug repellent and works well most of the time. But if the mosquitoes are really bad I still go for the DEET. I take a longterm chance with cancer rather than a short term chance with West Nile. I have a friend who is trying to recover from West Nile right now, and if you offered him the option for a do over I’m betting that he would take his chances too.

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