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So you think it won't happen to you

Though they may weigh a fraction of an ounce and live, at most, a month or two, mosquitoes have been called the deadliest animal in the world.

This description of the mosquito was made famous by Bill Gates when in 2014, he published on his Gates Notes blogs using this as the title. The blog compiled research from the World Health Organization in regards to the number of people killed each year by different animals. The mosquito sits in #1 position as the most lethal animal to human beings in the world.

Most mosquitoes are merely a nuisance. But bites from some species can have deadly consequences. Mosquitoes — or more accurately the illness and disease they carry — kill about one million people per year. A huge percentage of these deaths occur mostly in tropical and subtropical regions where the insects thrive. By contrast, sharks, perhaps the most feared animal on the planet, kill about 10 people annually.

Note the graphic from the Gates Foundation above was compiled in 2014, since then the numbers of deaths each year from mosquito-borne illness has risen to an estimated one million.

Now, here is where the title of our story comes into play; so you think it won’t happen to you.
There is a misconception based on the fact many of the deaths occurring from mosquito-borne illnesses are happening in tropical and subtropical regions and those of us living in the US are not affected. However, mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus (WNV), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Zika Virus and others infect, debilitate and even kill here in the US.

Let’s take a look at the 2016 Mosquito-Borne Disease Year in Review from Vector Disease Control International to see the real numbers:

West Nile Virus (WNV)

As of January 17, 2017, 47 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes in 2016. Overall, 2,038 cases of WNV were reported in humans, and there were 94 confirmed deaths (4.61%) in 2016. The total is a slight improvement from 2015, where there were 2,060 human cases and 119 confirmed deaths (5.8%).

According to preliminary map data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 16 confirmed cases of West Nile in Pennsylvania in 2016 resulting in 2 deaths.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)

Although preliminary, five human cases of EEE were reported nationally in 2016. In 2015, there were six reported human cases of EEE and 50% of those cases were fatal.

Zika VIrus

As of January 4, 2017, within the US, there were 216 cases of ZIKV locally and 4,619 travel associated cases reported to the CDC in 2016. The 216 local cases, from the states of Florida and Texas, have received the most attention from the US media. The US territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and several other US territories) experienced a total of 35,021 locally-acquired cases were reported in 2016.

Prevention and Control is Key

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid coming into contact with a mosquito. Taking chances with mosquitoes is like playing a game of Russian roulette because there is no way of telling which mosquitoes may be harboring a virus or illness. By combining your vigilant efforts to control mosquito breeding sites on your property with our proven methods of controlling and eradicating existing mosquitoes, we can help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illness before it begins.

Contact us today to learn more at (610) 674-0799, or via email at [email protected].

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