Booming Mosquito Population Triggers Health Fears

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In addition to the discomfort brought by the heat and humidity gripping much of the U.S., the scorching temperatures have also created another problem -- mosquitoes.

Experts say the population of biting insects has sky-rocketed.

"This is by far the highest numbers we've seen for adult populations out there," said Dr. Dina Fonsecal, a medical entomologist.

The recent heat wave has led to perfect breeding conditions.
    
Even without rain, mosquitoes are finding standing water in which to breed. The most common spots are pools, tarps with water on them, and bird baths.

"During a light year in some of our mosquito traps, we may get 1 to 200," entomologist Theodore Andeadis said. "In a bad year like we're experiencing right now, we might see 1,000 - 2,000."
    
Certain species of mosquitoes carry diseases like the West Nile virus, so the spike in the number of the flying insects has experts concerned.

"We worry that if someone comes into the country infected with a disease that could be transmitted by these mosquitoes, it could create a local epidemic," one expert explained.
    
With the number of mosquitoes only expected to get worse in the coming weeks, experts suggest that people take the following precautions:

  • Get rid of all standing water.
         
  • Buy insect repellents that contain DEET.
         
  • Avoid being outside during the early morning or early evening as both are considered to be peak mosquito times.

Meteorologists predict that the heat wave baking most of the country could last until August.

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