Mosquitoes are flying insects that inflict irritating, itchy bumps when they bite your skin. When a mosquito bites you, it is doing so in order to extract a small amount of your blood that it can then use to nourish its eggs. While the majority of mosquito bites are harmless other than the red, itchy bumps that they leave, some bites can transmit viruses & diseases that the insect is carrying. According to the LSU AgCenter, Louisiana is home to 60 or more species of mosquitoes, but only a handful of them are potential vectors of viruses. Mosquitos are known to carry several different viruses, including West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, LaCrosse Encephalitis, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya virus, and more. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of these dangerous viruses and what they mean to your health!
West Nile Virus
According to the CDC, West Nile Virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. The most common carrier of West Nile Virus in Louisiana is the southern house mosquito because they typically feed on birds, which is where the virus is believed to originate. When a mosquito carrying West Nile Virus bites a human, there is a chance that they will transmit the pathogen. Symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rashes, but only about 1 in 5 people who are infected develop these symptoms. Studies show that 8 out of 10 people infected with West Nile Virus do not develop any symptoms at all.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Eastern Equine Encephalitis is another virus transmitted by mosquitoes, but it is very rare; only a few cases are reported in the United States each year, according to the CDC. With this being said, most of the reported Eastern Equine Encephalitis cases in the USA occur in Gulf Coast states and are associated with swamp habitats, making Louisiana one of the more common places for Eastern Equine Encephalitis outbreaks. Eastern Equine Encephalitis can result in fever or neurologic diseases, including meningitis and encephalitis.
St. Louis Encephalitis
St. Louis Encephalitis is another virus that can be transmitted by mosquitoes, but cases are rare, with an average of only about eight reported cases per year since 2011, according to the CDC. While most people who contract St. Louis Encephalitis do not have symptoms, those who do can experience fever, headache, dizziness, nausea, and generalized weakness. In more severe cases, symptoms can include confusion, disorientation, dizziness, tremors, and instability. Most severe cases of St. Louis Encephalitis occur in older adults.
Dengue Fever was successfully controlled in the United States in the late 1930s; however, more recently, the United States has seen increases in the number of human cases of Dengue Fever caused by mosquito bites. In 2021, there were 117 reported cases of Dengue Fever in the United States, according to the CDC. While most Dengue Fever cases are mild and may go unnoticed, severe cases can cause excruciating pain, serious bleeding, drops in blood pressure, and death, according to Mayo Clinic. In Louisiana, Dengue Fever is most common in areas with higher concentrations of people.
Contact Pied Piper Pest Control!
If you’re experiencing a mosquito problem on your property in the Greater New Orleans area, Pied Piper Pest Control is here to help! Our licensed pest control experts have years of experience dealing with a wide variety of pests throughout the New Orleans area! Contact us today at (504) 366-1333 or fill out the contact form on our website for a free mosquito control estimate!