Importance of controlling mosquito populations

Published 7:00 am Friday, August 19, 2016

This week a new discovery was made concerning one of the newest mosquito borne viruses, Zika.
The Zika virus is well known for causing babies to be born with birth defects.
It seems that researchers have found that adults can also be affected by the virus, but in a different way than previously reported. The discovery tentatively shows that the virus can affect undeveloped brain cells in adults, which replace cells and are used to create new memories.
If this research is validated, this will give humans one more reason to control mosquito populations. We’ve been successful in nearly eliminating cases of malaria in the United States, mostly through mosquito population control and reduced exposure. We also have pretty effective methods to reduce their breeding sites and numbers through chemicals and property management.
As more and more diseases are carried and transmitted by these creatures it’s essential that we continue the fight to minimize our exposure.
While there may never be a method to eradicate these insects, reducing the risk is the only way. Here are some ways Pearl River County residents can prevent exposure to mosquitos: remove sources of standing water, wear light colored clothing that covers arms and legs when in an area with mosquitos and use a repellant containing the ingredient DEET.
Mosquitos are said to be more active close to sunup and sundown, so avoiding outside activities during those times can also reduce the risk of being bitten.
These insects carry more than just Zika and malaria, including West Nile Virus. While symptoms of Zika and West Nile are typically mild, and uncommon, death is very rare, according to the Mississippi Department of Health. Most symptoms typically include headache, fever, joint pain and a rash with Zika. With West Nile, the symptoms are similar, but also include headache, nausea, vomiting and muscle weakness.

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