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  • Writer's pictureBryan Walker

Mosquito-Borne Disease Transmission in East Tennessee

As we head into another summer of mosquitoes in East Tennessee and summer vacation travels, it is a good time to review some of the viruses they transmit and the steps that can be taken to reduce the instances of bites associated with them.

Zika Virus

Zika is mainly spread by an infected Aedes species mosquito but can also be spread by sex with a person who has Zika. This virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to the baby and can result in birth defects. If you are traveling to an area known to have Zika, precautions should be taken. Click here for a CDC map and precautions if you plan to travel.

Chikungunya Virus

Chikungunya is spread from bites by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can pick up the virus by biting people infected with the virus and transmitting it to other people. Aedes species mosquitoes are responsible for the transmission.

Dengue Virus

Dengue is spread by the bite of an Aedes species mosquito. A person can be infected by Dengue up to 4 times in a lifetime due to the fact that Dengue 1, 2, 3, and 4 exists. Click here for a view of the Dengue Map provided by the CDC.

La Crosse Virus

La Crosse Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most cases have occurred in the southeast and Midwest with a little in the lower levels of the mid-Atlantic. This is the virus that has been transmitted from mosquitoes in the East Tennessee area over the past 4 years at the greatest frequency. The severe form of this virus normally occurs in ages 16 years old and younger.

Jamestown Canyon Virus

Jamestown Canyon Virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and is closely related to La Crosse Virus. Severe cases may require hospitalization and currently no treatment exists except for treatment of the symptoms.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito species such as Aedes, Coquillettidia and Culex. Most cases of EEE occur in the east or gulf coast areas. This virus has around a 30% fatality rate on people infected.

St. Louis Encephalitis Virus

St. Louis Encephalitis is contracted by the bite of an infected Culex species mosquito. Most people infected show no signs of illness. Severe cases normally occur in older adults.

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus is the leading virus transmitted by mosquitoes in the continental United States. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds and then transmitting them to humans with a bite.

Mosquito Prevention

The most successful way to prevent mosquitoes is to control the sources they originate from.  Below are items to focus on while preventing mosquitoes at your home or business.

1. Start with items on your property that hold water.

  • Garbage Cans/Lids-Keep lids on garbage cans to prevent water accumulation in lids and bottom of garbage can.

  • Flower Pots-Remove bases and allow pots to drain and prevent water accumulation.

  • Tires-Properly discard from property to a land field.

  • Stumps/Tree Holes-Drain water and fill holes with sand.

  • Tarps/Covers-Inspect covers for grills, boats, etc. for water and drain.  Pull tarps tight to prevent ongoing issue.

  • Corrugated drain pipes-Inspect and drain water from corrugated pipes on downspouts for gutters.

  • Pet Water Bowls-Clean and replace with fresh water daily.

  • Other Containers(Cups, bowls, etc.) -Discard if possible or keep water drained.

  • Bird baths- Empty and clean at least once per week.

  • Landscape ponds- Use mosquito dunks for ornamental ponds(Can be found at Lowe's or Home Depot)  or introduce mosquito fish into your pond.

  • Children's Pools-Keep emptied when not in use.

2. Next focus on areas that can fill with water during a rain, but otherwise stays dry.

  • Drainage ditches-Remove debris and vegetation to insure proper drainage.

  • Low spots in lawn that can puddle after a rain- Fill area and reseed to prevent pooling water.

  • Gutters-Remove debris to allow proper drainage and prevent pooling water.

  • Flat Roofs-Remove debris and insure roof does not accumulate standing water following a rain.

3. Focus on resting sites for adult mosquitoes by reducing dense vegetation on the property.

Reduction of Mosquito Bites

  • Use an EPA registered insect repellent like DEET per the label.

  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants while outside.

  • Keep mosquitoes outside by keeping doors and windows closed.

If you are interested in a mosquito abatement program to assist with mosquito control at your home, give Epituer Pest Solutions, LLC a call at 865-363-1155.

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