Other Diseases Spread by Insects
There’s nothing pleasant about a mosquito bite or other insect bite, but beyond the initial sting, residual itch, and resulting allergic reaction for some, a mosquito, tick, or flea bite can deliver something much worse. Insect and mosquito-borne diseases and illnesses are a cause for concern in all parts of the US and abroad. While some of these diseases are more prevalent in certain areas, the risk of contracting any one of them is motivation enough to explore insect and mosquito control and prevention options.
The Zika Virus has become a common news topic since the outbreak of the virus in the beginning of 2016. Zika is spread by infected mosquitoes, but there have been no confirmed cases of infected mosquitoes in the US. For more information on Zika, visit our Zika page.
Malaria is an old disease with African origin. Malaria is spread by the bite on an infected mosquito, and is responsible for over a million deaths annually. Minor outbreaks of Malaria have been reported since the last resurgence of the disease in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, but mosquito control and antimalarial drugs have curbed outbreaks.
West Nile Virus
The first case of West Nile virus in the US was reported in the 1990’s on the East Coast. Because the disease is mosquito-borne, it is easily transmitted to the birds who eat mosquitoes. The disease is most commonly spread by a mosquito bite, and can result in illness or death, although many of those infected never experience symptoms. In 2015 1,923 cases were reported, resulting in 106 deaths. While West Nile infection is rare, the only way to ensure protection is with effective mosquito control.
Pet Diseases like Dog Heartworm
Humans aren’t the only ones who are susceptible to mosquito-borne illnesses. If bitten, animals like dogs, cats, and horses can become infected with life-threatening diseases like dog heartworm which is caused by the bite of a mosquito carrying the larvae of a roundworm, or equine encephalitis which comes from mosquitoes biting birds who carry the disease. Heartworm can be prevented with pills or injections, but can be fatal for cats for dogs. Equine encephalitis can be treated if a horse contracts the virus, but if a human is bitten by an infected mosquito, there is no treatment.
Ticks Spread Lyme Disease
Ticks are a tiny parasite that bite and burrow into their host, not only eating their blood, but potentially infecting them with Lyme Disease, a disease which can affect both humans and pets. Once infected, an individual with Lyme Disease can suffer a wide range of related health problems. For dogs, Lyme Disease is equally dangerous and can be fatal. For more information on how to protect your family and pets from Tick-borne Lyme disease, read our tick prevention blog.
Several Other Diseases
Many other diseases and illnesses are transmitted by insect bites, including Dengue and Yellow Fever, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, LaCrosse Encephalitis, Western Equine Encephalitis, and others. Taking careful measures to prevent tick, flea, and mosquito bites is the most effective way to prevent these diseases.