Friday, August 20, 2010

World Mosquito Day is Today

As most of you know i am not one for ‘cut & paste’, but this was too good. A fellow Master Naturalist (we are the ones who keep our clothes on as we cavort in the woods) sent me this in the morning email. So here i am wondering what to serve on World Mosquito Day??????

Information copied from
Pause for a moment on World Mosquito Day to reflect on the little bloodsucker that probably causes more human suffering than any other organism.
Observed annually today, August 20, World Mosquito Day originated in 1897 by Dr. Ronald Ross of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, according to the American Mosquito Control Association, a nonprofit based in New Jersey. Ross is credited with the discovery of the transmission of malaria by the mosquito, and was honored with a Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1902. Each year 350-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, and over one million people die, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But malaria is not the only disease spread by mosquitoes. There's also West Nile virus, various strains of encephalitis, Dengue Fever, Rift Valley Fever, Yellow Fever.
Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

An article in yesterday's Washington Post mentions that with more than 500 mosquito-borne viruses out there, health officials are concerned about the spread in the United States of tropical diseases such as chikungunya fever and dengue, especially as global temperatures rise. Humans aren't the only targets of these sanguinivorous pests. Mosquitoes can also carry parasites and diseases to dogs and cats (including heartworm) and horses--and many wild animals, including birds. West Nile virus cycles between birds, mosquitoes, and humans.

The Asian tiger mosquito was accidentally introduced into the U.S. 20 years ago and is a carrier of West Nile virus. The mosquito has spread rapidly around the world and is known for its aggressive daytime activity and ability to breed in the smallest puddles of water commonly found in gutters, old tires, and empty cans. North Americans know it for the particularly nasty welts and skin irritation left by its bite.
Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) courtesy CDC

The CDC recommends four ways to Fight the Bite:

  • Use mosquito repellent (new research released this week shows that they really don't like DEET!) 
  • Eliminate standing water where mosquitoes can lay eggs
  • Install or repair window and door screens
  • Support community-based mosquito control programs


possum said...

As a Buddhist we are not supposed to kill any sentient beings... this includes mosquitoes... BOY! Am I a failure! SMACK!
The Dalai Lama was once asked how much of a "sin" it was to kill a mosquito. He replied, "sometimes we just react (and he smacked his arm) without even thinking. It is human to do this, but it is best if you can find a way to keep them from biting you."
Whoops, just had another human slip-up. Dang!

Hmmm, guess I'd better go clean out the bird bath now that you remind me of it...

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

I didn´t know they had a day of their own. I almost feel asahmed that I´ve killed several today :-) :-)

Up here in the north we are a bit worried that we will get back malaria once again. We got rid of it in the early 1900, but with the warmer climate it might come back. Thankfully it´s still to cold for the other nasty diseases You mentioned.
Have a great day and avoid those mosquitoes!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

The BEST way I know to celebrate this day is by killing a few and I won;t even feel bad about that.

Elaine said...

I agree, the best way to celebrate is by killing a few. It's said that the top several inches of soil in Alaska is composed of mosquitoes. You do not want to go out in the woods without bug dope!

Montanagirl said...

My question is, why do horses get West Nile, but not cattle??

Anonymous said...

Hi Folks.
Thanks for all the nice thoughts . Luckily I rarely get bitten. Poor Batrice is a true 'skeeter magnet. If there is one within a mile it will find her and bite her over and over again, and then invite friends!!!!!!
Best thing ever made was DEET. Makes you almost invisible to the little buggers. BUT slapping is a great backup plan. Even the Dalai Lama gets in a slap now and then (so you're safe this time Possum).
Mona, i will guess the reason is they are different Families Horse= Equidae Equus caballus and a Cow= Bovidae Bos taurus. Tough question for a Marine guy... If a critter doesn't have a backbone and lives in a salt marsh i am much better.

Mom A said...

I have had more than my share of their gifts, I will keep my blood and kill all that I find...

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