Vector-borne illnessessuch as Lyme Disease, West Nile, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are a very real and serious threat. Lyme Disease can cause flu like symptoms, Arthritis, Heart problems, and even Neurological problems. Symptoms of West Nile can include similar flu-like symptoms, tremors, meningitis, encephalitis, paralysis, comas, or even in some cases death. EEE is the most deadly of the three. Approximately a third of patients who develop EEE die, and many who survive live with brain damage.
Recently Zika has become a much more prominent vector-borne illness in the North East. Although symptoms tend to only last a few days to a week, if infected during pregnancy, Zika may cause severe birth defects.
The main carrier of these diseases are Mosquitos and Ticks. They aren’t just bothersome pests, they’re dangerous. Continued exposure to these carriers increases the likelihood of infection for you and your children. Several of these illnesses can even affect your pets.
Mosquitoes are some of the most deadly animals on the planet. Every year around 1 million people die from mosquitoes, and up to 250 million are infected with Malaria.
The process in which a mosquito bites a host is relatively simple. It begins with a female mosquito. She needs blood for protein to give to her eggs. The mosquito detects its host by smelling the carbon dioxide in its breath, something they can do from up to 75 feet away. When the mosquito bites its host, it releases some saliva that acts as an anti-coagulant, allowing the blood to flow freely. This saliva is what gives you an itchy bump, and it’s also how mosquitoes spread diseases.
“Black Legged” ticks or “deer” ticks are the main carrier of many illnesses, including Lyme disease, of which they are the sole carrier. While it may seem like a good thing that they are the only carrier, as the population of deer in Connecticut has increased, so have the population of deer ticks. This has resulted in the risk of contracting Lyme disease being higher than ever.