Port Saint Lucie Dengue Mosquitoes – Morphing from Pest to Danger.
As a Port Saint Lucie contractor who often works in homes open to the outdoors, I have become something of an expert on the behavior of St. Lucie County mosquitoes. I recently read an article written by an authority on Dengue Fever describing the behavior of the mosquitoes that carries that disease. They are the same gals that I have to deal with regularly. These mosquitoes are really smart and fast. They hide from the light, tend to hit still targets, and attack and bite quickly and then go back to hiding.
Now, locally acquired cases of dengue fever are being reported in Florida for the first time in more than 75 years. The Florida Department of Health is urging Saint Lucie and Martin County residents to take precautions against mosquito-borne illness following three confirmed cases of locally-acquired dengue fever in Martin and St. Lucie County. The residents had no history of recent international travel, so the exposure was likely to be from local mosquitoes. It appears that the exposure was from local mosquitoes in the Rio neighborhood near Jensen Beach. Jensen Beach is in Martin County, but next to St. Lucie County’s southern border.
Health officials said that this is the second dengue case in Martin County. The county’s only previous case was contracted by a Port Salerno resident in August 2011. There have been no previous locally acquired cases in St. Lucie County.
Dengue Fever is a disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses transmitted to humans through certain species of mosquitoes that live in tropical and subtropical regions, including the southeastern United States.
Dengue Fever is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Two types of mosquitoes – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus – are known transmitters of the dengue viruses and are found in large number in Martin and St. Lucie counties. The mosquito linked to the dengue outbreak in Martin and St. Lucie counties is Aedes aegypti, a daytime biter.
So far 20 people have been sickened in the dengue outbreak. Under optimal conditions, the egg of an Aedes mosquito can hatch into a larva in less than a day. The larva then takes about four days to develop into a pupa, from which an adult mosquito will emerge after two days. Three days after the mosquito has bitten a person and taken in blood, it will lay eggs, and the cycle begins again.
Dengue and Chikungunya too – Morphing from Pest to Danger
Did you know?
1. Only the female mosquito bites as it needs the protein in blood to develop its eggs.
2. The mosquito becomes infective approximately seven days after it has bitten a person carrying the virus. This is the extrinsic incubation period, during which time the virus replicates in the mosquito and reaches the salivary glands.
3. Peak biting is at dawn and dusk.
4. The average lifespan of an Aedes mosquito in Nature is two weeks
5. The mosquito can lay eggs about three times in its lifetime, and about 100 eggs are produced each time.
6. The eggs can lie dormant in dry conditions for up to about nine months, after which they can hatch if exposed to favorably conditions, i.e. water and food.
7. The Aedes mosquito is now (June 1, 2014) spreading the viral disease Chikungunya (CHIKV), throughout Haiti.
8. The mosquito-borne virus could become a major public health problem in Florida. Ten confirmed cases have been reported in Florida as of June 1, 2014.
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