Why Mosquitoes Are A Serious Threat

Mosquito on a table

Mosquito Diseases

Mosquitoes can cause sickness and death through the diseases they can carry. We will discuss in detail mosquito borne diseases and which ones threaten us here in Louisiana both currently and potentially. Apart from disease mosquitoes also cause nuisance problems for rural home owners and ruin recreational activities such as hunting and outdoor sports. In extreme situations high levels of nuisance mosquitoes can pose a threat to livestock and wild animals as well.

Economic Impact

The economic impact of the problems that mosquitoes cause is staggering for such a tiny little insect. We will discuss this impact worldwide, nationally, and locally as well in this section on mosquitos and the serious problems they cause. For even more information on mosquito borne diseases please view the American Mosquito Control Association website.

No MosquitoesMosquito Borne Disease

  • According to the World Health Organization mosquitoes infect over 300 million people a year with Malaria and Dengue, just two of the life threatening diseases mosquitoes can carry.
  • According to the World Health Organization of those 300 million 800,000 will die from Malaria and another 20,000 from Dengue.
  • In Africa alone where mosquito control efforts are severely lacking businesses note that work absences related to mosquito borne diseases cost them $12 billion a year in lost productivity.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control in the United States alone since 2001 over 30,000 people have been infected with West Nile Virus. Of those 30,000 infections 1,200 have resulted in death.
  • Excluding the cost of mosquito control efforts by governmental agencies the cost of West Nile Virus related health care alone in the United States was estimated at $200 million dollars in 2002.
  1. Eastern Equine Encephalitis
  2. St. Louis Encephalitis
  3. West Nile Virus
  4. Zika Virus

MosquitoEastern Equine Encephalitis

  • Abbreviation: Eastern equine Encephalitis (EEE)
  • Fatality Rate: 30%
  • Primary Mosquito Vector: Culiseta Melanura in birds / Culex Quinquefasciatus in man
  • Potential Mosquito Vectors: Cs. Inornata, Aedes Albopictus, Aedes Sollicitans, Aedes Vexans, Aedes Infirmatus, Aedes Atlanticus, and Coquillettidia Perturbans
  • Threat Status: Intermittent

Viral Infection

Eastern Equine Encephalitis much like West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis is a viral infection maintained in the wild by a bird to mosquito to bird cycle. Horses are involved with man as dead end host meaning they cannot transmit the disease between themselves. Of the many mosquito borne diseases EEE is the deadliest mosquito borne disease to occur in the United States with a 30% fatality rate for those infected.

Half of those who survive the infection are stricken with various degrees of mental disability and paralysis. People younger than 15 and those older than 50 are the most prone to infection although EEE can affect persons of any age.

1947 Outbreak

A major outbreak of EEE struck Louisiana in 1947 when the virus caused disease in over 15,000 horses and 15 human cases resulting in 7 people dead. Since that outbreak understanding of the transmission cycle in the wild and the creation of a vaccine for horses has resulted in much less infections for horses and humans. Although incidents of disease in humans has been low in recent times EEE still remains a deadly mosquito borne disease for both horses and man.