Re: West Nile Virus & mosquitoes

[ Follow Ups ] [ Death Valley Talk - Archive Set 3 ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by No Expert - but some knowledge on mosquitoes on August 16, 2002 at 10:09:10:

In Reply to: Re: West Nile Virus & mosquitoes posted by Arkose on August 16, 2002 at 00:55:41:

I must agree with Goody2shz – I beg to differ.

The mere fact is, Death Valley does have mosquitoes. I have found them near Warm Springs, Indian Springs, Saratogo Springs, Saline Valley Hot Springs, Scotty’s Castle, Furnace Creek, Darwin Falls, Middle Park, Wildrose Canyon, and numerous other places in and around Death Valley.

Late Spring and early Fall, anyone venturing to Badwater in the evening will come under attack by mosquitoes.

In fact, Death Valley is home to one type of mosquito that can not be found any where else in the world. Granted, this mosquito does not have the equipment necessary to “suck” blood from a human therefore can not transmit diseases.

However, there are three species in the Death Valley region that are virus carriers. The Western Malaria Mosquitoes (Anopheles freeborni) and the most common in Death Valley, the Western Encephalitis Mosquito (Culex tarsalis), and the Common House Mosquitoes (Culex pipiens and Culex quinquefasciatus).

Now for the West Nile Virus.

The media has blown this way out of proportion. The human American citizen averages 2.5 bites a year from the mosquito. Of this, 1 out of 1.2 million bites is fatal. Now with regard to the West Nile Virus, if you are a healthy individual, with an average immune system, your body defense mechanisms will thwart this virus from doing any harm.

“The U.S. Center for Disease Control says that in regions where the virus is present, fewer than one percent of mosquitoes carry it; and fewer than one per cent of people bitten by an infected mosquito will develop serious symptoms of the disease. Many people show no symptoms. A study in Egypt reported that 50 per cent of the people exposed to the virus developed antibodies but showed no symptoms. However, other people, especially the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, can become very ill.”
This morning reports indicate the West Nile Virus has been found in Colorado and some parts of Utah. All indications are that this virus will “surface” in California by October or early November of this year.
· Preventive measures:
· Apply insect repellent sparingly to exposed skin. An effective repellent for adults will contain at least 35% DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide). DEET in high concentrations (greater than 50%) provides no additional protection.
o Repellents may irritate the eyes and mouth, so avoid applying repellent to the hands of children.
o Whenever you use an insecticide or insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's DIRECTIONS FOR USE, as printed on the product.
· Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Do not apply repellents containing permethrin directly to exposed skin. If you spray your clothing, there is no need to spray repellent containing DEET on the skin under your clothing.
· When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.
· Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when you are outdoors with infants.
· Consider staying indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, which are peak mosquito biting times.
· Install or repair window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors.
· To avoid helping mosquitoes breed in your environment, drain standing water. Routinely empty water from flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, discarded tires, buckets, barrels, cans, and other items that collect water in which mosquitoes can lay eggs.
· And don’t panic.
I hope this helps.
A Desert Rat

Follow Ups:

[ Follow Ups ] [ Death Valley Talk - Archive Set 3 ] [ FAQ ]