You might feel pretty sheltered from seriously threatening animals these days, but some parts of the world harbor some pretty dangerous creatures. In the waters off the coast of Australia, virtually invisible box jellyfish trail 15 stinging tentacles that are capable of stopping the heart in minutes. In eastern Africa, the black mamba, which reaches speeds of nearly 13 mph, can deliver enough neuro- and cardio-toxic venom to kill 10 people. Even man’s best friend is responsible for 25,000 deaths annually, mostly due to rabies-infected stray and feral dogs. However, none of these scary creatures can hold a candle to the deadliest one of all: the mosquito. This blood sucker is responsible for the deaths of about one million people every year.

In order to reproduce, female mosquitoes must consume blood to get the protein they need to create eggs. When they bite you, their mouths act like hypodermic needles, which inject their saliva into your skin. The chemicals in that saliva keep your blood from clotting so that they can feed freely, and they also cause the localized reaction you will later recognize as a mosquito bite. If that mosquito previously bit an infected person or animal, that saliva might also contain disease-causing agents. The virus the mosquito ingested then replicates inside the insect, and when it injects its saliva, it also injects the virus. This makes it a remarkably efficient disease vector.

According to the World Health Organization, about half the world’s population is at risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever, yellow fever or Zika. While many people associate deadly mosquito-borne illnesses with developing and under-developed countries, the United States is not immune. Mosquito-borne illnesses are causing increasing concern with state and national authorities as they spread.

Almost 900 cases of locally and travel-acquired cases of chikungunya were reported in the U.S. in 2015, and in 2016, Hawaii declared a state of emergency when 250 cases of dengue fever were confirmed in both residents and visitors to the island. That same year saw more than 2,000 new cases of West Nile virus. In 2017, about 200 travel-associated cases of Zika were identified in the U.S. while about 550 locally-transmitted cases were diagnosed in territories of the U.S.

Mosquitoes are the primary vector for many diseases even in Atlanta, which has seen West Nile virus, LaCrosse Virus and Eastern Equine encephalitis in the past. When it comes to spreading disease, all it takes is one bite to start an epidemic. Controlling mosquito populations is essential to preventing the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses and keeping your home and community healthier. MosquitoNix offers comprehensive indoor and outdoor mosquito management systems. Call us today to schedule a consultation and get a free estimate on a customized solution.