Texas is home to more than 85 different mosquito species, many of which can transmit disease. No one likes mosquito bites, but many people aren’t aware that every year, millions of people die from diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes. While we’re relatively lucky to be safe from many of those diseases here in Texas, there are still a few viruses that we need to be aware of.
The Zika Virus
You’ve likely heard the Zika virus mentioned in the news over the past few years. It made headlines due to the severity of the effects it can cause unborn children. When a pregnant woman is infected by the virus, the damage to her unborn child could be severe. Zika has been linked to microcephaly, a serious form of brain damage that can leave a child with lasting disabilities or even cause death. Considering that eighty percent of those who have Zika show no symptoms, mothers often don’t find out that their babies have been hurt until it’s too late.
The Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquito, a species that can generally be found in tropical areas. However, the World Health Organization has announced that the Aedes mosquito has now spread to the United States, putting millions of Americans in danger.
West Nile Virus
This virus is spread by the Culex mosquito species, which is, unfortunately, common in Texas. West Nile Virus has spread around the planet, and it’s estimated that over 42,000 cases have been found in the United States. While many cases don’t show symptoms, the disease can sometimes cause nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, fatigue and skin rashes. In some cases, it’s possible for there to be lasting damage to the central nervous system.
We are lucky that this disease isn’t a concern in the United States, but it’s still good to be aware in case you ever plan on doing international travel. Malaria is actually a parasite, not a virus. It’s transmitted by a variety of mosquitoes that inhabit humid or tropical areas. Each year, over a million people die from the disease, which presents symptoms similar to the flu.
The best way to protect yourself and your family is to use a strong mosquito repellent when enjoying the outdoors. Another smart option is by having the professionals inspect your property for standing water or other problems that might attract mosquitoes. Once you have an inspection, you can go over your options for mosquito barriers, which will allow you to enjoy the outdoor areas of your home without getting bit.