Mosquito borne disease and how you can reduce the risks in your home
Mosquitoes, you either love them or you hate them… well actually, you probably just hate them - and with good reason too! This small, persistent parasitic insect can not only torment you and your family with the telltale itchy lumps, but can cause much, much bigger problems.
In this article we’ll be taking a look at some of the most worrying diseases spread by mosquitoes and some simple methods you can employ to help keep your family safe from these annoying insects.
This is the big one, the disease that still despite recent improvements in control techniques, kills nearly half a million people a year. Found mostly in warm tropical areas around the world, Malaria itself isn’t a virus but rather a kind of parasite that can be spread via the saliva of mosquitoes. Symptoms generally don’t appear for about two weeks after the infection, but when they do it can lead to fever, headaches, joint pain and other flu-like symptoms. In severe cases it can cause seizures, anemia and renal failure.
While it has only received widespread publicity the last couple years, cases of Zika virus have been reported since the 1950s. Originating in Africa, Zika is in the same family of virus as Dengue and West Nile, the disease itself generally doesn’t present very strong symptoms, but if a pregnant woman is infected, the disease can spread to the fetus. This can lead to severe brain malformations in the child - a tragedy the family must live with for many years.
Dengue is another widespread tropical disease, common in more than 110 countries. It causes headache, fever, muscle pains and vomiting. Severe cases of Dengue can cause Dengue Hemorrhagic fever with internal and external bleeding, or Dengue Shock Syndrome that causes very low blood pressure. Approximately 20,000 people die every year from Dengue.
West Nile Virus
Most people who are infected with the West Nile virus will only have mild, flu-like symptoms and many won't exhibit any at all. Approximately 1 in 5 people will develop a heavy fever and 1 in 150 will get severely ill and West Nile can even cause death.
Ross River Fever
This is the most common mosquito-borne disease in Australia and isn’t just found in the tropics. It infects approximately 5000 people each year. A person infected with Ross River will present with a rash first and then fever and experience arthritis and severe joint pains.
Saint Louis Encephalitis
This disease is found mostly in the United States and while most cases are quite mild it can cause people to experience high fevers, convulsions and even paralysis. While it is a relatively rare condition with only about 5000 cases in the past 40 years, it can be fatal and has no cure.
There are a large number of different mosquito-borne diseases throughout the world and it is important to check with your relevant Government health website to know which diseases, virus or parasite can affect your local area. You can also ask your local doctor.
What can I do to help prevent mosquitoes in my home or business?
Mosquitoes breed in damp, still-water environments and this kind of environment occurs both inside and outside your home of business. Make sure you check outside of your home for any persistent wet areas including buckets and ponds and other areas where water is exposed to the air (and flying insects) and empty them right away. If you have a pond, think about getting some fish that prey on mosquito larvae to help control the population. You can also grow insect repelling plants like lemon balm, basil or lavender close to your entry points to help dissuade mosquitoes from coming in.
If you ever wonder how a mosquito got into your room at night, well there is a very good chance it has been living with you the entire time. It may surprise some people but inside your home or business can provide a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes that can sustain the entire life cycle of the mosquito. They have everything mosquitoes need - a nice, safe place to breed (your drains) and a ready supply of food (you). Your house, apartment or business contains a number of drains in areas including the shower, bathroom, laundry and kitchen. Drains that have less water flowing through them, like floor drains or spare room drains, are more likely to be affected as they provide a more stable environment for mosquito larvae to grow in.
There are a number of chemical treatments you can use in the home but none of these are permanent and some can be quite bad for the environment. The simple, effective and long-lasting solution to mosquitoes breeding in your home is installing a Grate Seal. This durable, quality Australian made one-way rubber valve stops mosquitoes, insects and bad smelling gases from intruding on your living or working space. It is extremely easy to install and will help you protect you, your family or your customers from a little insect that can cause big problems.