Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mosquitoes will be annoyance, not public health concern

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KRCU) - Missourians who live near flooded rivers will have to tolerate a bumper crop of mosquitoes throughout the summer. But the mosquitoes will mainly be a nuisance and not a public health concern, according to Dr. Christina Frazier at Southeast Missouri State University.

Pest mosquitoes such as Aedes vexans, or floodwater mosquitoes, lay their eggs at the water’s edge, according to Dr. Frazier.

"And they might sit there for years before they get wetted again," she said. "But then the next time a flood comes along then it will wet every set of eggs that it covers and if you haven’t had flooding for a while and they come along flooding, it will hatch eggs from several years and you’ll get this big bloom of mosquitoes."

They are vicious biters, but they do not transmit disease to humans.

There’s also been a population boom among disease-carrying vector mosquitoes, such as the common house mosquito.

St. Louis County health officials are trapping over a thousand of these little rascals in a single night, and sending them to Dr. Frazier for testing.

She has identified six individual mosquitoes with West Nile Virus, but none with St. Louis encephalitis.

Frazier says … that’s pretty good.

"I’m not overly concerned that we’re going to have a lot of disease this summer. I don’t think people should worry or panic. But there’s difference between worrying and being wise," Dr. Frazier said.

Frazier encourages folks to protect themselves by cleaning up anything that can collect water, wearing insect repellent and avoiding being outside at dusk.

Jacob McCleland, KRCU


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