AS SEEN IN Various Community Associations Institute Chapter Newsletters: Written by Industry Expert Gavin Ferris, Ecologist
I was on a genealogy website not long ago when I was reading about an ancestor, and this line stuck out to me: “…the first year after his return from the army he was able to do but little work, as he suffered greatly from fever and ague, which he had contracted in the service.” Fever and ague was, at the time, the terminology used to describe what we now call Malaria, and the war in which my ancestor contracted the disease was the American Civil War. He probably was bitten by an infected mosquito somewhere in Virginia.
Zika virus is making a lot of news lately, but mosquito-borne diseases are nothing new in the United States. Malaria was common over most of the country up through the 1800s, and wasn’t eradicated here until the early 1950s. Other mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus, and more recently Chikungunya, are currently carried by mosquitoes in the United States, and can pose a serious threat to public health. Preventing the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, and the other unpleasant consequences of mosquito infestation, requires a proactive multi-pronged approach. It is important to understand the biology of the mosquitoes involved, their behavior, and how environmental conditions contribute to mosquito problems.