According to a recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study, nearly 75 percent of the contiguous American states may now be set up to provide ripe and ready environmental conditions to facilitate the breeding of disease-spreading mosquitos. It is relevant to note that the ripe conditions needed for mosquito breeding is fundamentally connected to the earth’s temperature. This is evidence suggests that Global Warming (or Climate Change) may help increase the odds of an invasion of unwanted insects.
This newly published study, from the Public Journal of Entomology, found that:
- 71 percent of the counties in 48 contiguous states were breeding grounds for the Aedes Aaegypti species and
- 75 percent of these counties could easily support an invasion of Aedes Albopictus
- Dengue Fever, and
- Yellow Fever
In order to predict the potential for a mosquito invasion, researchers examined historical records regarding the presence of mosquitos in all U.S. counties. Remember that this study is a scientific prediction model with too many factors remaining unknown to form the basis of any conclusion. Nevertheless, this new research emphasizes the need for everyone to take precautions and to proactively add regions that had not been monitored.
It is not surprising to learn that scientists concluded that the concept of ‘temperature’ is the most relevant predictor of a mosquito’s odds of surviving. Similar to other species of insects, these mosquitos must be near warmth to successfully develop and breed. This asks that we all consider that the inconvenient truth that climate change can easily morph environmental conditions that allow deadly mosquitos to spread through the United States.
From 1995 through 2016, the Center for Disease Control has detailed records on a county level for these two species of mosquitos. The records, included in this study, were blended with county-level environmental data. This data was then statistically analyzed to create a map of the United State’s counties with environment conditions suitable for these deadly mosquitos to thrive.
The findings are quite significant, as the guidance they will offer will eventually re-define guidelines relating to public health matters.
Recent Mosquito Outbreaks of Note
The West Nile virus is known to have originated in the African Country of Uganda. The West Nile virus spreads by the breeding of mosquitos across the world. The breakout of West Nile eventually killed seven people in New York City, 7,068 miles from its source.
Fast-forward to 2014, where an additional mosquito-borne virus, called Chikungunya (“bending over in pain”), plagued eleven residents in the state of Florida. Since its appearance stateside, additional cases have been found in Washington, DC as well as 46 other states.
In both of these incidences, the virus that caused this outbreak had never been previously reported in the affected area. Are shifting weather configurations and the inconvenient truth about global warming helping to create a more suitable breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitos? If you are uncertain, listen up: Climate experts predict these changing weather patterns will inevitably increase the number of places deadly mosquitos might breed.
In other words, Americans are encouraged to learn more about vector-borne (transmitted by insects) illnesses, because there are no effective vaccinations known to date.
Climate changes across the globe have created areas of drought that were once sustainable eco systems. When the drought begins to end, the affected area suddenly experiences a deluge of rain.
Sudden water surges develop into puddles of standing water—the moisture that is needed for a mosquito to hatch their eggs. Even more serious is the fact that as the environment heats up; the incubation period of the mosquito is significantly shortened, which then, increases in the sheer number of mosquitos present at one moment in time. The biting mosquitos are female, who are more likely to do so with the rising temperatures.
How Mosquitos Infect the Human Population
West Nile virus is now considered the most common mosquito borne illness across the United States. West Nile is easily spread when an infected bird is bitten by another insect, who then goes on to bite a human. It is fascinating to learn that roughly 70% to 80% of those infected by West Nile never experience ANY symptoms. The West Nile virus causes the following: –
- Body aches
- Neck stiffness
- Joint pain
West Nile can even spread to the brain. Approximately one percent of those infected by the West Nile Virus develop the potentially fatal diseases of:
Dengue Fever is often found in Latin America and Asia, but has recently spread to the U.S. There are four strains of Dengue Fever that cause the following symptoms:
- A High-grade fever
- Crippling muscle, joint or bone pain bone
- A Headache
- Pain located behind the eye sockets
Fortunately most Dengue Fever cases simply require fluids and rest for one to safely recover. However, be aware that should you contract Dengue Fever, you become at risk for Dengue Hemorrhagic fever – a potentially fatal condition – should you become infected a second time.
How to Avoid Mosquito-Borne Risks
During the previous four decades the average temperature in the U.S. has risen by approximately .26 to .43 degrees for each ten-year period. If you believe that climate change is real (which it is!) the American public should be busy investigating the ways they can protect themselves from these mosquito-borne illnesses. These illnesses have NO known cure!
Some simple ways to protect yourself from these vector-borne illnesses include:
- Repair a window or door screen to prevent them from entering
- Avoid the hours mosquitos are most active: Dusk and Dawn.
- There should be NO standing water on your property. Be sure to check kiddie pools, birdbaths or storm drain elements.
- Before you leave your home, choose to spray insect repellent on your clothes and exposed skin—but not your face! This repellant should have no more than a 30% concentration of DEET.
- Choose lighter colored clothing to increase your odds of spotting dark ticks or insects.
- Use a loofah from your scalp to your big toe to detach any remaining ticks should you have visited an affected region
- If you develop unusual symptoms, seek immediate medical treatment.
Knowingly setting conditions to encourage the overgrowth of deadly mosquitos can only be considered imprudent. The reality is, it is actually dangerous thinking. Vector-borne illness, like Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever and Zika can now strike 75 percent of the continental United States.