MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. —Mosquitoes are small, but pack a terrifying bite! Diseases such as Yellow fever, Dengue and West Nile virus are all carried by mosquitoes. Of these, West Nile virus is most common in the U.S., and it may return this year at record levels. According to the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), last year’s West Nile virus levels were the second highest ever in U.S history with 5,674 cases that led to 284 deaths. Are you properly protected against a similar onslaught this summer?
"The best way to prevent West Nile infection is to be proactive,” said AMCA Technical Advisor Joe Conlon. “The best offense is an even better defense. Use an EPA-registered insect repellent and limit standing water on your property. These steps can reduce human/mosquito contact.”
There is strong speculation that abnormally high summer temperatures may lead to elevated levels of West Nile infection this year. Since 2013 temperatures and rainfall are so similar to those in 2012, experts believe humans should brace for a similar infection rate this year.
AMCA urges people to protect themselves against West Nile infection because the virus can be incapacitating or even lethal. The virus symptoms can differ from nearly undetectable to extremely severe. West Nile virus infection has no known cure.
“Symptoms can range from simple flu-like behavior to acute neurological disorders,” said Conlon. “While severe West Nile infections are uncommon, we urge everyone to treat this as a serious matter and a possibility that cannot be predicted. Prepare properly for the rest of the season to ensure you’re protected.”
AMCA reminds the public to practice the “Three D’s” of mosquito prevention — Drain, Dress and Defend:
• Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week.
• Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
• Defend: Properly apply a CDC recommended repellent such as DEET, picardin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus.