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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mosquitoes...

I was thinking today about all that flood water in the south from Hurricane Katrina. Then I started thinking about the spread of disease, the insects, and the whole “unclean” mess that the hurricane has caused. I then turned my thoughts to here at home and how I had discovered a small pool of water from our recent rains in the base of the basketball goal. In that small puddle of water were mosquito larvae. The drain hole had been closed off, just enough, by a leaf and had created a small nursery out of the rain water for the nasty varmints. Making routine inspections of our yards and driveways and removing standing water can help minimize the mosquito population in our neighborhoods. Check your plants too. There are certain types of plants in our flower beds and pots that have leaves and stems that can hold enough water for a brood of wigglers to grow up to adulthood.

Mosquitoes carry multiple diseases. These diseases affect man and animal alike and many of them are zoonotic. In other words, humans and animals can catch the same disease. There are multiple encephalitis infections that mosquitoes carry and transmit here in the United States. Most people only think of the West Nile Virus though. I guess it’s because of the publicity that it has received.

The problems we see most commonly from mosquito populations are heartworm infections in pets. Heartworm infections can affect both the household dog and the cat. And yes, heartworms really do grow and mature inside the heart of the animal. This devastating disease can be prevented by medications that are given on a monthly basis. In this day and age, it is really sad to see a dog that has heartworm disease. What’s even worse is to see a ‘young’ dog that is dying from heartworm disease.
There are some people that don’t feel that they need to give heartworm prevention medication to their pets because they say, “My pet never goes outside.” Thinking that only outdoor pets can get heartworm infestations is an incorrect assumption on the owner’s part. Just last week I found myself trying to chase down a mosquito that had gotten into the house.

Katrina most certainly has left a horrible mess behind and some of the problems will only worsen over the next several weeks. When Hurricane Andrew came through government agencies went into action and implemented a program to kill mosquitoes. I am glad the disease control guys are on the job. I am sure that they will find plenty to do after this most recent disaster.

later…

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