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Preventing the Next Pandemic: What to Know About the Novel Mosquito Species


As the summer months begin to roll in, it is also highly likely to bring more pests along with it. While there are plenty of them to be on the lookout for from rodents to insects, none should be given more awareness than mosquitoes. This has made the demand for more effective mosquito control solutions all the more crucial.

Within the current context of the global pandemic, safeguarding your health should necessarily become a top priority. However, this doesn’t just stop at practicing better hygiene and observing relevant health protocols. It should also include understanding information about the threats that might be present around your immediate surroundings.

A Foreign Threat

As a matter of fact, the potential of another pandemic breaking out has been considered even while the world continues to battle the coronavirus. This time, the discovery of a novel mosquito species in the North American region is what’s causing health experts a lot of concern.

Just to provide a quick glimpse into how the current health crisis began, it is believed to have originated from mammals like bats and pangolins. The first transmission to humans was reported in Wuhan, China until it eventually spread across different countries and regions. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic.

Even before this, scientists were already wary of there being a pandemic outbreak almost an entire year prior. However, the probable cause being looked into was the arrival of the Aedes vittatus on June 18, 2019, in Guantanamo. It is just one of the 3,500 mosquito species currently known, but it was a new addition to just over a dozen varieties present in North America that carry parasites and pathogens that are harmful to humans.

Apart from the Rest

In the US, some of the most prevalent disease-carrying mosquito species to have been reported across various states are the Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. These particular species have been known to carry illnesses like dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya. However, they are only able to carry and spread at least one type of disease with them at a time.

What sets Aedes vittatus apart is that it is capable of carrying almost all the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases with it, except for malaria. It also bites during the day, which is a lot different from the usual species in the US that are more active at night.

Losing Interest

In the past year, another deadly type of pest was highlighted in various news outlets when a swarm of murder hornets was also first seen in North America. Given this, it’s important to note that mosquitoes do not garner as much attention as they used to, but the threats that they pose are all the more alarming. Diseases carried by mosquitoes are reported to kill over 1 million people and infect almost 700 million people every year.

Several species of mosquitoes have plagued the country before, but the awareness around these disease-carrying bugs has waned over the past few years. For instance, there was the West Nile virus which killed countless Americans from 1999 to 2003. There was also the dengue outbreak and the Zika virus, which remain among the deadliest mosquito-borne diseases in the country. Additionally, hundreds of cases are still being reported for each of these illnesses to this day.

Hold the Line

Prior to its discovery in Guantanamo in 2019, Aedes vittatus was only known to be endemic to the Indian subcontinent and had never been reported anywhere within the Western hemisphere of the world. Natural events like hurricanes are the most common phenomenon that moves mosquito species from one continent to another. However, many scientists believe that different forms of transportation like ships, trucks, and airplanes have drastically accelerated the spread of this disease carrier.

Moreover, the worsening climate crisis has also made mosquitoes more prevalent across the country. These pests are known to become more active when temperatures go beyond 68 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Their breeding season has also been prolonged, which can now start as early as May and reach all the way to September. In order to significantly reduce or eliminate this growing mosquito threat, here are some things that need to be done.

Start from Home

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On the individual level, you should necessarily know what type of conditions serve as the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. As much as possible, get rid of any standing water around your household. It would also be helpful for you to use insect repellent, wear pants and long-sleeve shirts when going outside, and keep mosquitoes outside by closing your windows and doors.

Up to the Top

As for local and public health authorities, they should invest heavily in educating communities on how to prevent and control mosquito-borne diseases. Likewise, it’s also essential to implement health programs that effectively test and track disease-carrying mosquitoes to enable better control over their activities and populations.

Everyone Is Essential

Preventing another pandemic from breaking out while the coronavirus is still largely present can prove to be challenging, but achieving this is extremely vital. In this regard, everyone has a significant role to play in making this happen. Take the time to understand the various health threats that could be present in your vicinity and how you can prevent them from spreading, regardless of how small or unpopular they may be.

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