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Mosquito Diseases

Several species of mosquito in the PNW can ‘vector” (transmit) arthropod borne viruses to other species. Virus diseases are often transmitted from infected animals like birds to humans or other mammals likes horses or deer.

See mosquito picture to the right. Much ado is being made in preparation for the Bird Flu virus. Recently we had a scare about West Nile virus in which mosquitoes were able to vector the virus to horses and ultimately to humans.

All influenza viruses originate in birds and are thus Bird Flu’s! This includes all of the Encephalitis Diseases which have a bird – mosquito – mammal life cycle. Like West Nile and WEE.

They have not yet found an insect vector for Bird Flu between birds, or from birds to mammals. Apparently humans contract the BFV through getting raw bird (poultry) blood into wounds. Apparently cats contract bird flu by eating infected birds. So far…

As an Entomologist I think mosquito management is critical to prevent the spread of virus diseases to mammals. The pretty picture of a water lily to the right shows an ideal habitat for mosquito breeding. As in WNV, one can have garden pools and ponds by inserting mosquito feeding fish into the habitat e.g. small goldfish! Other mosquito habitats such as water filled objects can be drained of stagnant water. One gold fish is worth a lot of sprays in the home environment.