The most dangerous creature in the world is not a shark, a snake, or a bear. It is a tiny insect that can transmit deadly diseases with a single bite. It is the mosquito. And it will return to Ohio soon, as the weather gets warmer and wetter.
Mosquitoes are responsible for more than 700,000 human deaths every year, more than any other animal. They carry and spread diseases such as malaria, dengue, Zika, West Nile, yellow fever, and Eastern equine encephalitis. Some of these diseases have no vaccine or cure, and can cause severe complications or death.
Ohio is home to more than 50 species of mosquitoes, some of which are vectors of these diseases. Although most of the cases reported in Ohio are imported from travelers, there is a risk of local transmission if the mosquitoes encounter infected people or animals. In 2020, Ohio reported 20 human cases of West Nile virus and 1 human case of Eastern equine encephalitis.
How to prevent mosquito bites and diseases
The best way to prevent mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your family from these pests:
Use insect repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Follow the label instructions and reapply as needed.
Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
Install or repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Eliminate standing water around your home, where mosquitoes can breed. Empty and clean containers such as flower pots, bird baths, buckets, and tires regularly.
Report dead birds to your local health department, as they may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in your area.
Mosquitoes are the most dangerous creatures in the world, and they will return to Ohio soon. They can transmit deadly diseases that can affect humans and animals. To prevent these diseases, it is important to avoid mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding sites. By taking these simple steps, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of these tiny killers.