As summer arrives, it brings warm weather, sunshine, family barbeques and….disease? Unfortunately, pest borne diseases can cause many health and financial problems for families. Diseases carried by insects have been growing in recent years, and another drastic rise is predicted again this summer.
More than simply the annoyance of an itchy spot or red bump, insect bites can bring severe allergic reactions and infectious diseases, producing a myriad of uncomfortable and dangerous symptoms. Mosquitoes are responsible for carrying diseases that affect up to 500 million people each year worldwide. But they aren’t the only ones. Fleas and ticks bring their own types of danger, including Lyme disease—the fastest growing insect-borne disease in the US.
Some of the most common diseases spread by pests include:
West Nile Virus. This disease carried by mosquitoes was introduced into the US very recently and can lead to death. Many people don’t know they are infected because they don’t show symptoms. Other people have pain, fever, and other symptoms that can last for weeks and cause longer term fatigue and weakness.
Zika Virus. Particularly heartbreaking because of its ability to cause birth defects, this illness is spread through mosquitoes. Many people with the virus are asymptomatic, and there is no specific treatment for the disease.
Lyme disease. Spread through tick bites, this begins with a small red spot that appears with an outer red circle along with fever, flu-like symptoms, and other pains. Antibiotics can be used to treat Lyme disease, but untreated symptoms may last for years and can develop into serious, life-altering illness.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Carried by ticks, symptoms of this illness include high temperature, rash, headache, nausea, and various pains. Without treatment, this disease can be fatal.
Chikungunya Virus. Also spread by mosquitoes, this disease shows many similar symptoms to other viruses, including fever, rash, headache, nausea, and notably severe joint pain that lasts for several weeks. No vaccine or specific treatment is available and most patients do recover with time.
Why is the Risk Increased?
Reports by the CDC show that illnesses spread through pest bites (particularly tick, flea and mosquito) increased by approximately 35% between 2004 and 2016 in the United States and its territories. But why?
Disease carrying pests are increasing in number and moving to new areas, enlarging their impact. Increases in overseas travel and trading mean that people exposed to infectious diseases may transport them home without their knowledge. Many diseases that used to exist only in far-off tropical locations have spread across the world. For instance, West Nile Virus was originally introduced to the US through international travel into New York City, and then it spread across the country.
Climate change may also play a part in the increased risk of pest borne diseases as many of these critters thrive in warmer climates and become more infectious that than would be in cooler temperatures. Warmer weather means that the insect season lasts longer and certain warmer climate insects migrate further north than ever before, exposing more people to the diseases they carry.
See Also: Are You At Risk for Mosquito Borne Viruses
Certain people carry a higher risk than others because of an increased vulnerability to illness and disease. These include:
- Pregnant Women
- Children under 5 years old
- Adults over 65 years old
- People with weak immune systems such as cancer patients or persons with HIV
Even people who are not at high risk should still aim to avoid exposure to pest borne disease. Preventing your family from dangerous insect bites and stings can be done with just a small amount of intentionality.
Each person over the age of 2 months should make use of insect repellent whenever they are spending time outdoors. Application instructions should be followed carefully and washed off once returning back inside. Wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants, and light colors helps to reduce exposure to mosquitoes and ticks. After coming in from walks in wooded areas, tick check should be carefully performed
See Also: How to Safely Remove a Tick
Your personal property can act as a breeding ground for disease carrying pests. Keep your yard and outdoor structures tidy and clear of any areas of standing water. Mosquito misting systems installed around the outdoor areas of your home is a perfect way to protect your family and property without any hassle. A backyard fogging program by a pest control professional is another effective option.
One of the best ways to protect your community from the effects of pest borne diseases is by working together to control mosquitoes. Community based fogging works by a pest control company works to minimize exposure to mosquitoes and reduce the risk of disease.
Appropriate care and concern about pest borne diseases may mean contacting a pest control professional for help. For Houston Pest Control that eases the worry, contact Cypress Creek Pest Control for community or residential mosquito control. You can rest assured that your family and property will be as well-protected as possible.