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Please take a minute to watch this video and learn more about how mosquitoes can affect you and your family.
One mosquito. One bite.
That’s all it takes to change someone’s life forever.
The threat of mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has risen in recent years due to volatile weather patterns and vulnerable populations of humans, birds and animals. While in many cases, these diseases cause minor symptoms in patients, for some, the disease can rapidly advance and cause life-long neurological damage, affecting ability to walk, talk, eat, or even breathe. Tragically, coma and even death can occur – and many times, very quickly. Those at particular risk are young children, seniors, those with immunosuppression, either via those taking immunosuppressive medicine or due to a pre-existing medical condition such as many types of cancer or HIV infection. Those that work outside or participate in outdoor activities are also at higher risk because of greater exposure to mosquitoes.
There are currently no vaccines to protect against any of the mosquito-borne viruses except yellow fever.
Mosquito Control: The Best Defense
The best defense against diseases such as these is strong local mosquito control programs. In many cities and towns across the country, mosquito control programs have been reduced or cut due to budgetary concerns. In certain cases, as in Dallas County in 2012, these cuts have had disastrous results – in that year alone, Dallas County saw 396 cases of West Nile virus – 20 percent of Texas’ 1,868 total cases, which included 89 deaths statewide. Preventive measures such as larviciding and timely adulticiding would have likely have lessened the magnitude of the outbreak.
With the right control measures and tools in place – with full support from local citizens and policymakers – prevalence of WNV and EEE can be decreased.
How You Can Help
Take personal steps to protect yourself and your family. Remove standing pools of water from around your business or home where mosquitoes breed, including environments like old tires, buckets, unused swimming pools, or bird baths. You can also use an EPA-approved mosquito repellent, make sure your home is equipped with window screens and wear protective clothing that covers the skin.
Additionally, be aware of local mosquito control efforts in your community and voice your support for the role these programs play in protecting public health and safety. Mosquito control must not be taken for granted – and with your help can be recognized for the critical part it plays in maintaining a high quality of life for communities across the country.
A bill — LD 1678 — has been introduced in the Maine legislature to prohibit the use of methoprene, an EPA-approved mosquito larvicide that helps control mosquito populations that breed in standing water before they can become adults that spread disease. The bill is a speculative push to “protect Maine’s lobster fishery” by prohibiting the use of methoprene and resmethrin. This bill is unnecessary and potentially damaging for several reasons: