Massachusetts’ First Human Case of West Nile Virus in 2016 Confirmed

mk1k4kakskf0pqb0pqv0pqc02qa0pqa04qd02qek2qv0hkakrkekzkukska0pq9kzknkeqo08q2keqc04qt0gqc08qEvery year in the North Shore we watch mosquitoresults.com for news of West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis to be found in mosquito pools in the area. As we watched the first WNV positive samples begin to arrive starting in Worcester July 1st, we began to take extra precautions in regards to mosquito control and mosquito protection in Methuen, Andover and the rest of the North Shore. Today we are counting 65 West Nile Virus positive mosquito samples from across the Bay State. While we know a human case of the mosquito-borne disease is usually soon to follow, we were hoping this year might be different…

Middlesex Woman Diagnosed with 2016’s First Case of WNV in Massachusetts

Unfortunately, we did not get that lucky. This week the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported the first confirmed case of West Nile Virus in the state this year. According to the Boston Globe, the woman is in her 70’s and is still currently hospitalized for treatment.

West Nile Virus is most commonly asymptomatic, but people over 50 and those with weakened immune systems face a higher risk for neurological illness. View our West Nile Virus page to learn about the important symptoms you need to know. Also keep a close eye on mosquitoresults.com so you can be aware when mosquito samples in your city test positive for WNV.

Mosquito-Borne Virus Season in the North Shore

It is peak season for mosquito-borne diseases. Out of the 10 human cases of WNV in Massachusetts last year, the first was reported in the same week last year. With experts having mosquito-borne virus season figured out so well, we can help you prepare by eliminating mosquitoes from your property before we get to this point in the season. Season long mosquito control is your best bet in lowering your risk for mosquito-borne diseases at home.

Massachusetts Drought: Perfect for West Nile Virus

irrigating is great for North Shore mosquitoes transmitting WNVWith high temperatures and drought conditions, this year is particularly ripe for the specific type of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus in Massachusetts. In fact, the Culex Pipiens mosquito is attracted to lay its eggs in dry riverbeds. The eggs can live there for up to 2 years waiting for just enough water to hatch and develop into blood-sucking adult mosquitoes. With drought conditions, humans are a perfect source for that much-needed water as we attempt to keep our lawns and garden alive with potential over-irrigation and puddling.

Mosquito Squad North Shore owner AnthonyUntil mosquito season is over, it is best to protect yourself and your family with mosquito barrier spray from Mosquito Squad of the North Shore. Our barrier spray eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes on your property for an enjoyable and safe pest-free outdoor lifestyle. Call today 978-887-1177 for a free quote.

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Posted in west nile virus, West Nile Virus in MA | Tagged , , ,

The Deer Tick Brings Yet Another Disease Risk to Massachusetts

deer_ticks_carry_Lyme_Disease_in_the North ShoreThe Powassan virus (POW) has now made its presence known in the Cape. In fact, 4 of 6 local sites setup for testing by the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at Umass- Amherst have confirmed ticks that tested positive for Powassan, according to the Cape Cod Chronicle. The CDC reports 1 case of POW in Massachusetts between 2004 and 2013 and state officials are now reporting 9 cases since then. This sudden growth is good cause for heightened awareness.  

How Can We Get Powassan?

Humans are infected with POW by a bite from an infected deer tick. This is the same tick that carries several other diseases, including Lyme disease which we have been aware of and dealing with in force for quite some time. This sudden increase makes researchers question if POW has been present in local ticks for awhile now and misdiagnosed. What makes POW different and possibly more threatening than Lyme is that it can be transferred from the tick to human immediately at the bite. Lyme requires the tick to be attached for several hours for transmission. Deer ticks live in wooded, brushy, humid habitat. They wait on the tips of sticks, bushes, blades of grass to grab onto their host as they walk by, and climb their way up to find a spot to feed. Because infection of POW can be immediate, it now seems more important than ever to dress appropriately and constantly check for ticks throughout the day.

How Will We Know We Have Powassan?

Like so many other mosquito and tick-borne illnesses, this is where it gets tricky. From the time of the bite, it can take from a week up to a month for symptoms to begin to show. And some may never see symptoms at all. If you find you’ve been bitten, it is best to note the date and pay close attention. Any signs of fever, headache, weakness, nausea, confusion, loss of coordination and you should contact a doctor. It is rare, but in some instances, this becomes much more serious, and approximately 10% of Powassan cases lead to serious illness or death. This occurs when the virus infects the nervous system. It can then cause meningitis or encephalitis. Those that are affected in this way and do survive are likely to have permanent neurological symptoms. There is no medication to treat POW, only lessen its symptoms.

Mosquito Squad North Shore owner AnthonyMosquito Squad of the North Shore wants to keep you updated and informed about tick-borne illnesses that could affect you and your family. But more than information we would like to give you the tools to prevent your family from being affected. Keep your yard safe by following the 6Cs of tick prevention. Call us to schedule your tick spray and we can eliminate 85-90% of the ticks in your yard. Also, ask about our tick tube system and how it works year round to slow the growth of future ticks by halting them at the beginning of their lifecycle. Fall tick tubes are dropped in late August or early September, so be sure to call today for the most effective tick treatment in the North Shore. (978) 887-1177

Posted in Deer ticks, Powassan Virus, Tick-borne illness and disease | Tagged , , ,

Some Mosquitoes Are Trickier than Others When it Comes to North Shore Mosquito Control Efforts

 

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Image Credit: bugguide.net

Did you know there are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes worldwide? There are about 51 mosquito species right here in Massachusetts. While there are some generally similar habits among most mosquito species such as needing water for eggs, larva, and pupae to develop, there are quite a few variations in their preferences that allow them to thrive in a variety of environments. One very distinct variation occurs in the cattail mosquito (Coquillettidia perturbans). A distinct behavior that makes them very difficult to eradicate.

 

The Snorkeling Mosquito

Cattail mosquitoes have a unique early life stage. As larvae, they live in the bottom of freshwater swamps. To survive, they pierce the stems of submerged plants and breathe through the plant chambers, just like a snorkel. Cattails make a perfect snorkel, which gave them their namesake. This particular behavior makes it more difficult to eliminate them for two major reasons. 1. We cannot eliminate the standing water in which they live (like container breeders). 2. Larvicide does not affect them because they live so deep in the water right up until they reach the pupal stage before becoming adults. This combination can mean that during the months when they are most prevalent our treatment might last for a shorter duration because we can only effectively eliminate adults and pupae.

Survival of the Fittest Mosquito

Another unique feature of the cattail mosquito is their ability to survive as larvae in the bottom of freshwater swamps for the winter. According to Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District in Newburyport, they take almost a year to develop. This means that during a summer drought like we have this year, these mosquitoes are not at all affected. They have been developing underwater for a year and will emerge in large numbers as adults regardless of the drought.

Mosquito Squad North Shore owner AnthonyIf your property suffers from a unique mosquito problem due to nearby wetlands, call Mosquito Squad of the North Shore today. 978-887-1177 We customize treatment plans to meet your unique property needs.

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The Newburyport Time For Celebration Has Come Again

 

At Mosquito Squad of the North Shore, we are thrilled that it is once again time to celebrate the Yankee Homecoming in Newburyport. The finest team in Newburyport mosquito control, are looking forward to being part of this time-honored and community building event.

How It Began

mosquito squad of the north shore with Dread

In 1958 artist Jack Frost wanted to find a way to help revitalize the communities of New England that were suffering due to closing factories and mills. He wanted to bring people together to celebrate the history and the beautiful landmarks of what were once thriving towns.

He called his plan “Yankee Homecoming 1958. The National Pilgrimage Back East Where It All Began”. Newburyport community and business leaders were approached and brought onboard for this concept along with 29 other communities that created their own Homecoming events. In 2016 Newburyport is proud to continue this tradition for the 59th year.

Nine Days of Festivities and Fun: July 30th – August 7th

The newest event, a Kayak and Paddle Board Race, is only one of so many. Saturday brings the Brewfest, a golf tournament and kids’ talent show Monday, and Thursday’s Veterans lunch are just a few of the events of the week. Every day is full of art exhibits, historic tours, live entertainment, and music. This nine-day event has more than enough variety of fun to keep the entire family entertained and engaged while highlighting the beautiful history that Newburyport has preserved over so many years.

Please Join Us

Mosquito Squad North Shore owner AnthonyAs the week comes to a close you won’t want to miss the spectacular fireworks display at 9:15 on Saturday and of course there is the closing parade Sunday at High Noon. Mosquito Squad of the North Shore will join many other bands, floats, and groups of all kinds traveling down High Street and making their way to Marlboro Street. Don’t dare miss out on the fun! Come to the parade and watch for the Mosquito Squad truck and meet the best Newburyport mosquito control crew!

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Zika’s Older Brother, West Nile Virus, is Already Here in Massachusetts

mosquito squad mosquito

We know that Zika Virus has been captivating news watchers all spring and summer long, but it is time to focus on a current local threat. West Nile Virus has been found in mosquito populations in Massachusetts just in the last week or two. The threat is real and it is here. West Nile Virus is transmitted by a larger variety of local mosquitoes and it can be deadly for some.

The first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile Virus this year were collected in Worcester, Mass. Not super close to us, but, if you watch the Massachusetts Department of Health’s Arbovirus daily update, you will see that it will likely be found in surrounding areas soon enough.

Now is the Time for Mosquito Protection

Mid to late summer is mosquito-borne disease season. Now that we know West Nile Virus is in the state, it is important to take extra steps to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. While most people won’t have any symptoms of illness, there is a group of individuals who are at high risk for neuroinvasive West Nile Virus, which can be deadly. Check our website to familiarize yourself with West Nile Virus symptoms and high-risk categories.

If most people don’t get sick from West Nile Virus, what is the big deal?

Mosquitoes cause more human deaths than any other animal in the world. They are more deadly than sharks, bears, snakes and all the other scary predators. While you may not be in a high-risk category for the serious form of West Nile Illness there is no way to know how your body will react to the virus until you have it. You also don’t know everything about guests you have at your home. It is important to protect those who are most susceptible to neuroinvasive West Nile Virus, as 10% of those cases result in death and many survivors experience permanent neurological consequences.

Anthony Pascetta Mosquito Squad North Shore

Anthony Pascetta, owner – Mosquito Squad North Shore

Mosquito protection is as easy as picking up the phone or contacting us now. At Mosquito Squad of the North Shore, our mosquito barrier spray can eliminate up to 90% of mosquitoes on your property and lasts for up to 3 weeks. Call today Call Today (978) 887-1177.

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Vital Information About the Zika Virus Comes to Light With Help From Monkeys

Asian-Tiger-Mosquito-Zika-Mosquito-Topsfield MassWith researchers around the globe digging into every aspect of the Zika Virus, new information becomes available almost daily. David O’Connor, a pathology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has created a model scenario within the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center using rhesus macaque monkeys. This model is a way to observe how the effects of the Zika virus, spread primarily by the bite of an Aedes mosquito, on these monkeys compares to the effects on human beings.

According to Medical News Today, Professor O’Connor states that what they have seen so far is that the effects are very similar between the monkeys and human studies. Most of this is good news. The reports state that in most cases the Zika virus runs a 10-day course, with mild (if any) symptoms including mild fever, rash, joint pain, and itchy eyes. Yet, even more promising is that when the monkeys are reinfected with the virus, they seemed to have built an immunity to it. This is a promising sign for the creation of a successful vaccine.

Pregnant Monkeys Stay Infected with Zika Virus Longer

pregnant rehesus monkey stays infected with Zika virus longerWhile Zika is primarily spread by the bite of a mosquito, it can also be spread through sexual contact and from a mother to her unborn child. Past research has shown that babies born from mothers that contracted Zika while pregnant can be born with severe birth defects including microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with smaller heads and possibly smaller brains than normal.

The Wisconsin study shows that although Zika typically lasts about ten days in male and nonpregnant monkeys, in pregnant monkeys it lasts anywhere from 30-70 days. This information has many implications and O’Connor states that “my concern for Zika virus in pregnancy is much higher now than it was six months ago.”

Zika Infection Loop Between Mother & Fetus

One of the major implications is that there could be an infection loop between the mother and the fetus causing the infection in the fetus to last much longer. Science 20 news blog states, “If the mother-fetus infection loop — first proposed earlier this year by Johns Hopkins University obstetrician Rita W. Driggers in an analysis of Zika infection in a pregnant woman — proves true, it could provide an opportunity to track the risks to a developing fetus without resorting to invasive (and also inherently risky) tests.” They believe that this information will help determine the amount of damage the virus could be causing in the fetus as well as aid in the research on treatment.

Mosquito Squad North Shore owner AnthonyThere is much more research concerning Zika being done and to be done. It is our goal at Mosquito Squad of the North Shore to keep you informed. The Zika virus has yet to be transmitted by mosquito bite in this area, but prevention is also our goal. Lower your risk for all mosquito-borne illnesses with our time released barrier spray, which eliminates 85-90% of mosquitoes and ticks in your yard. Keep your family safe and call today. (978) 887-1177

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UMass Medical School Identifies Human Protein Vital for Zika Replication

scientists_testing_mosquito_samplesWith so many great schools and institutions in Massachusetts, it is no surprise to learn one is on the front lines of important Zika Virus research.

The lab at the UMass Medical School is breaking ground in Zika Virus research. While there is a lot of different tactics to take in attempting to find treatments and vaccines for the Zika virus, UMass has been working on interrupting Zika virus replication. Replication of the virus is what allows it to infect the human body and cause the varying degree of symptoms. This replication is vital to the virus surviving.

UMass Identifies Protein Vital For Zika Replication

The team at UMass, led by Dr. Abraham Brass, MD, Ph.D., has been working on a system and infrastructure for investigating the genetics to find the protein that allows viral pathogens to use human cells for replication. They’ve been working on this system for four year using other viruses. This work has allowed them to dig deeply and quickly into the biology of the Zika virus to discover the human proteins that it needs for this replication process.

Years of Preparation Results in Fast Findings

Within a few short months with support from the NIH and an award from the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation they’ve been able to identify multiple proteins out of the more than 20,000 available human proteins that are critical for Zika infection and replication. Their goal was to find the proteins fast and share the data with the rest of the research community for expedited processing. With more eyes on the data, finding a way to interrupt this process will be that much quicker. The next step is to use these findings to develop treatments and potential vaccines.

Mosquito Squad North Shore owner AnthonyWhile the Zika Virus is not yet locally transmitted by mosquitoes, we think it is best to error on the side of precaution. Until more research is completed, avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito bites is your best method of prevention. With Mosquito Squad of the North Shore’s traditional barrier spray, you can enjoy 85-90% fewer mosquitoes and ticks in your yard for a pest-free outdoor lifestyle. Call today. 978-887-1177

Posted in mosquito control, mosquito squad, tick control, EEE, west nile virus, Lyme disease, Zika Virus | Tagged , , ,