Are Disease-Carrying Mosquitoes A Major Threat To Waco Residents During The Fall Season?

For the past two decades, mosquito-borne disease has been a growing threat throughout the United States, particularly in the southern and eastern halves of the country. Last year, researchers surveyed mosquito populations in every region of the contiguous US in order to determine where disease-carrying mosquitoes pose the greatest threat to citizens. Results showed that central Texas was among the most mosquito-heavy regions in the country, and seven cities in the state were listed on the top 50 most mosquito-populated cities in the US. According to the list, the central Texas cities of Waco, Temple and Bryan each tied at number 41, and the cities of Dallas and Austin, each of which are located 90 to 100 miles away from Waco, were listed as the 2nd and 20th most mosquito-heavy states in the country, respectively. Unlike last year, Mclennan County has not seen any human cases of mosquito-borne disease so far in 2019, and this will likely remain the case, as mosquito-borne disease cases reach their peak in September and October in the state.

Texas is home to 85 mosquito species, 26 of which can be found in Mclennan County, and unfortunately, all three disease-carrying mosquito species in the state can also be found in Mclennan County. In recent years, Mclennan County has documented locally transmitted cases of the West Nile virus, and travel related cases of chikungunya, dengue fever and malaria, but mosquitoes in the county are also capable of transmitting St. Louis encephalitis to residents. Two mosquito species in the county, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, are capable of transmitting chikungunya, the Zika virus and dengue fever to humans, while Culex pipiens can transmit St. Louis encephalitis and the West Nile virus. Unlike most mosquito species, the three disease-carrying species in Texas dwell in urban and residential areas where they rely on stagnant water for reproduction. Stagnant water collects in objects commonly found in yards such as kiddie pools, cups, grills, bottle caps, clogged gutters, potted plant saucers, beer cans, bird feeders, and wheelbarrows. If all residents of Mclennan County were to keep their yards free of these water sources at all times, disease-carrying mosquitoes would not only stop congregating in residential areas, but their population numbers would decrease dramatically. Pest control professionals can treat properties where mosquito pests are particularly abundant.

Are you concerned about the possibility of a mosquito-borne disease outbreak occurring in your area?




Are Mosquito-Borne Disease Rates Finally Dropping In Texas Since 2016’s Zika Scare?

Many people were affected by the 2016 Zika epidemic that struck South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and the most southern areas of the US, particularly the states of Texas and Florida. This devastating mosquito-borne virus can be transmitted sexually, and the virus is a serious health threat to the developing fetus of pregnant women who have become infected. This was the most tragic aspect of the epidemic, as it resulted in a massive increase in birth defect rates in the Americas. During the epidemic, pregnant women in America were strongly advised to avoid traveling to Zika affected areas abroad and in the southern US, including southern Texas. A Zika epidemic has not occurred since 2016, but public health officials in the US remain concerned about Zika-infected mosquitoes that may still inhabit certain areas of the southeastern US.

While the Zika virus is no longer infecting Texas residents, Kate Fowlie, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, claims that the rate of annual mosquito-borne disease cases reported in the US has been increasing each year in the country since the Zika epidemic occurred three years ago. A growing number of cases involving lesser-known mosquito-borne diseases is driving this increase. Some of these lesser-known mosquito-borne diseases, such as St. Louis encephalitis and La Crosse encephalitis, have been reported with increasing frequency in Texas.

During 2016, six people contracted the Zika virus locally within Texas, 2017 saw 5 local Zika transmissions in the state, and since then, no locally acquired Zika cases have been reported in Texas. However, La Crosse virus cases have been increasing steadily in the east, southeast and upper midwest regions of the country during the past decade. Since 2009, 5 La Crosse virus cases have been reported in Texas, but experts suspect that this virus is significantly underreported. St Louis encephalitis is another mosquito-borne disease of concern among public health professionals in the US, and the state of Texas has seen 9 locally transmitted cases of this disease occur in the state during the past decade. For many people who contract St. Louis encephalitis, manageable symptoms including fever, headache and nausea are commonly reported, but around 90 percent of older adults who contract this disease develop meningitis, and 5 to 15 percent of these cases result in fatalities. The majority of fatality cases resulting from St. Louis encephalitis occurred within Texas, California and Arkansas.

Are you concerned about the growing rate of mosquito-borne diseases cases being reported in the country and the state of Texas?