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Everything You Need to Know About the Fight Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Most mosquitos are harmless. Only a small percentage of the large number of species actually spread disease. But even so, the damage they cause is extensive, with millions of people getting infected every year. This is why, despite their tiny size, mosquitos are considered the deadliest animal on the planet.

Recognizing how dangerous these disease-carrying mosquitos are, scientists and researchers have been working to figure out ways to combat their harmful actions. It’s also important that everyone is aware of exactly what mosquitos can do and how individuals can protect themselves.

Scientists are working on genetically-modified mosquitos that will lower their numbers; the worldwide Zika outbreak is being tracked as researchers look for ways to stop it; and everyday homeowners can take steps to cut down on the mosquito population in their yard and communities with a few simple steps. Learn about the worldwide fight to control disease-carrying mosquitos – and join it!

What’s in a Mosquito Bite, Anyway?

Anyone who has lived in South Florida or even just visited has probably been bitten by a mosquito. For the most part, this is just an itchy annoyance, but it can be much more serious if that mosquito is carrying a disease.

A mosquito spreads disease by first feeding on someone who is infected and then feeding on other people. Viruses live in a mosquito’s saliva and over time replicate, which enables one mosquito to infect multiple people.

A Higher Risk of Bites: Why Mosquitos Are More Active After a Storm

Mosquitos are a problem year-round in South Florida, but they can become a particular menace in the second half of the year. In addition to the hot and wet summer and early fall weather, there’s another big reason for this: hurricanes.

Mosquitos rely on water to survive – it’s where females lay their eggs. This is why after big storms, there is usually a rise in mosquito populations. With a sudden influx of water, there are now many more places for eggs to be laid and hatched.

How Mosquitos Spread Diseases

For the most part, Americans don’t have to worry about the mosquito-borne viruses many parts of the rest of the world have to deal with. However, there is one that has been spreading around the country recently: Zika.

And if that isn’t bad enough, a recent discovery has revealed something alarming. Researchers found that one mosquito has the capability to carry – and therefore spread – more than one disease.

Two Mosquitos, One Virus: The 2 Kinds of Mosquitos That Carry Zika

While most people may not know its scientific term, they most likely at least know a little about the mosquito most responsible for spreading disease. Known as the Yellow Fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), this species is probably the biggest culprit for the spread of viruses like Zika.

However, it’s not the only one. Recently, the Asian Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has also been proven to be a carrier of Zika. This is why people need to know about each of these types of mosquitos.

A Zika Timeline: The Virus is Older Than You Think

Most people probably heard about Zika fairly recently. The disease only made national attention in the last few years, and the first reports of it in the U.S. didn’t occur until 2016. But Zika actually dates back decades.

In the late 1940s, a virus was discovered in a rhesus monkey in Uganda. When the disease was shortly thereafter found in a mosquito in the same area, it was named Zika. Since, then it has spread to almost all parts of the world.

CSI Zika: Mapping the Florida Outbreak

Although Zika has been around for years, it didn’t have an impact on America until 2016. This is when the first reports of the disease were recorded in Florida. Scientists then set out to discover why and how this happened.

Because almost three million people came to Miami from the Caribbean in the first half of 2016, the conclusion was that’s where Zika originated. And because South Florida has a large population of the mosquitos that spread the disease, it didn’t take long for Zika to be transmitted.

How Science is Using Genetically-Modified Mosquitos to Fight Zika

While Zika may not be as big a threat to South Florida as it once was, it still poses a risk to citizens. This is why efforts are being made to fight mosquitos that spread disease, and one involves the use of gene modification.

A British company called Oxitec has developed a way to prevent mosquitos from reaching adulthood. This plan involves having genetically-modified mosquitos mate with wild mosquitos. Field tests have shown a 90 percent reduction in mosquito populations.

A Traveler’s Guide to Protection Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases

When traveling abroad, there are a lot of things to think about. In addition to all of the good stuff, it’s important to plan for any potential problems in certain areas, including disease-carrying mosquitos.

One of the first things travelers should do is look to see if mosquitos are an issue in the part of the world they’ll be visiting. Then they should be aware of the most dangerous types of mosquitos and the diseases they could spread.

3 Ways to Prevent Mosquitos Living in Your Backyard

It might be somewhat of a cliché, but your home is your castle. And while you don’t have to worry about an attack from an army, there are some invaders you definitely do need to be aware of: mosquitos.

Keeping your property protected from mosquitos doesn’t have to take a lot of work on your part. In fact, to do a good job of this, there are just three words you need to keep in mind: tip, toss, and treat.

Ward off Mosquitos: Why a Misting System is Better than a Screen

Whether you live in a mansion or a tiny house, your home could be affected by a hurricane; these storms certainly don’t discriminate. And because you live in South Florida, chances are good that you have a screened pool or porch.

When you add strong winds and heavy rains to flimsy screens, you have a recipe for disaster. The good news is that there’s a better way to protect your home from mosquitos and other biting insects than screens: a misting system.

The Global Mosquito Alert: A Worldwide Effort to Combat Mosquitos

While Zika continues to affect the U.S., there are many other mosquito-borne illnesses having an impact on several other parts of the world. Fortunately, there are groups and organizations devoted to combating these troublesome mosquitos.

One new initiative stems from the United Nations. The Global Mosquito Alert was created to get everyone involved in the fight against mosquitos. Using online resources, anyone is able to document information about mosquitos.

Contact Platinum Mosquito Protection to learn what you can do to combat mosquitos

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