Mosquito bites can quickly take the fun out of a nature hike, cookout, or camping trip, but mosquitoes are more than just pests.  Many serious infectious diseases can be spread by mosquito bites, from malaria to St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus.  Most recently, there have been alarming stories in the news about the Zika virus, which can be spread to humans through mosquito bites.

What Is the Zika Virus, and Why Is It Dangerous?

The Zika virus has existed in tropical areas in Africa and Asia for decades, but in the last two years, it has spread to the Caribbean, and a few cases have even been reported in the United States.  The U.S. Zika infections have been in Florida and Texas, which have subtropical climates.  Zika infections usually only cause a mild fever, if they cause any symptoms at all.  The real danger is if a woman becomes infected during or just before pregnancy, since the virus can cause serious problems in the unborn baby, including microcephaly, in which the baby’s brain does not develop properly.  Zika infection can also be spread among intimate partners, so it is possible for a woman of childbearing age to become infected with Zika even if she does not travel to high-risk areas for Zika, because she can be infected by her partner.

Protect Yourself from Zika and Other Pest-Borne Diseases

Zika and mosquitoes might be getting all the press these days, but you are actually at greater risk from the usual ants, termites, bedbugs, and rodents that normally infest people’s houses in the summer.  The mosquito bites you get this summer will probably just itch, but bee stings and bites from spiders can make you seriously ill.  Bites from small mammals such rats and other rodents can even give you rabies, which is almost always fatal if not treated promptly.

Don’t forget that Lyme disease, which can cause symptoms throughout your life even after the infection is cured, is spread by ticks, which are very common on humans and dogs.  Therefore, it is very important to have a professional pest control company outfit your house with the appropriate pesticides and rodenticides to protect you from pests and the diseases that they can spread.  Pest control can definitely help keep mosquitoes off of your property, but mosquitoes should not be your biggest or only worry when it comes to pest-borne diseases.