Mosquito threats in Central Texas

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NWA-2016-06-33-9

Skeeter stats:

1. Only female mosquitoes drink blood.
2. Adult female mosquitoes typically live for one week to one month, depending on environmental factors.
3. As it feeds, a mosquito injects a small amount of saliva into the wound before drawing blood to prevent blood from clotting. The saliva causes humans’ itching and swelling from a mosquito bite.
4. Mosquitoes have existed for about 400 million years.
5. There are 176 species of mosquitoes in the United States and about 2,700 worldwide.
6. Mosquitoes fly at an estimated speed of 1.5 miles per hour.
7. Dark-colored clothing attracts some mosquitoes more than light clothing.
8. A full moon increased mosquito activity by 500 percent in one study.
9. Smelly feet attract certain species of mosquitoes.


NWA-2016-06-33-5Mosquito-borne diseases

Encephalitis
Susceptible hosts: humans, birds, horses and other equines, such as donkeys and mules
Human symptoms of infection: high fever, convulsions, delirium and other central nervous system problems

Dengue
Susceptible hosts: humans
Human symptoms of infection:
sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, backache, joint pains, and a rash that appears on the third or fourth day of illness

Malaria
Susceptible hosts: humans;
children especially at risk
Human symptoms of infection: fever and flu-like symptoms, including chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

Zika
Susceptible hosts: humans
Human symptoms of infection: fever, rash, muscle and joint aches, red eyes
Babies of infected mothers risk microcephaly and poor pregnancy outcomes.

West Nile virus
Susceptible hosts: humans, birds, horses
Human symptoms of infection: less severe cases cause fever and flu-like symptoms, more severe cases can affect the nervous system and brain

Yellow fever
Susceptible hosts: humans
Human symptoms of infection: high fever, internal bleeding, jaundice
U.S. law requires that cases of yellow fever be reported immediately.

Dog heartworm
Susceptible hosts: dogs, cats and rarely humans
Animal symptoms of infection: coughing, labored breathing and general loss of vitality in advanced stages; can cause death if left untreated

Chikungunya
Susceptible hosts: humans
Human symptoms of infection:
joint pain, headache, nausea, fatigue
Death is rare, but newborns and adults older than 65 may suffer severe cases.


NWA-2016-06-33-10Prevention and protection

Mosquitoes require water to breed. Eliminate standing water by:

• Disposing of spare tires
• Drilling holes in the bottom of recycling containers
• Clearing roof gutters of debris
• Cleaning pet water dishes
• Checking and emptying children’s toys
• Repairing leaky outdoor faucets
• Changing the water in birdbaths at least once a week
• Turning over canoes and other boats stored outside
• Plugging tree holes

Choose a mosquito repellent that has been registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, including:

• DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
• Picaridin (KBR 3023)
• Oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methane 3, 8- diol or PMD)
• IR3535

Clothing should be:

• Light-colored
• Loose-fitting
• Long sleeves and pants


View a map of local health care providers

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Kara covers Northwest Austin, Round Rock ISD and health care in the greater Austin area.

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