Why Mosquitoes Are Dangerous in Tampa
Every outdoorsman has a story about being stuck somewhere in being mauled by bloodsucking mosquitoes. They always claim needing a blood transfusion after the incident, but there's never been a record of a mosquito attack that's taken that much blood, even though a female mosquito can consume 10 times her body weight in one blood meal. The dangers of mosquito bites is the potential disease that the mosquito carries: malaria, dengue fever, West Nile virus, equine encephalitis, etc. in the list goes on. In the Tampa Bay area, you are susceptible to anyone of these mosquito borne diseases through the bite of one infected insect.
With the mosquito, is not that they spit on you, they spit in you. When the female mosquito bites you, she injects saliva into you in order to take your blood. The contents of her saliva are: anticoagulants, certain enzymes, and possible pathogens that carry disease. For mosquito it's quite a cocktail she injects, she opens the wound, injects her saliva which gives her the ability to draw more blood more quickly, and in the aftermath leaves her host with either a welt from her visit, or a disease that may kill the host.
Dengue fever, also known as the yellow fever may be carried by the Aedes aegypti or the Asian Tiger mosquito. Both mosquitoes are prevalent in the Tampa Bay area.
West Nile virus, is transferred from area to area by infected birds that are bitten by the Culex nigripalpus mosquito. Mosquito bites the birds, the birds carry the disease around, mosquito carries the disease, the mosquito bites us. This mosquito is a resident of the Tampa Bay area
Eastern equine encephalitis, is a disease that infects both horses and people. The Culiseta melanura mosquito carries this disease, from infected birds, to horses, to mosquitoes, to people. This is an extremely dangerous mosquito borne disease and has a history of death in the Tampa area.
The Anopheles mosquito is the primary carrier of the malaria virus. Malaria kills millions of people around the world annually. This mosquito is primarily a nighttime hunter, and those in tropical and subtropical environments. The disease was thought to be eradicated in the state of Florida around 1935, however there have been cases of the disease in 1990, 1996 and in 2003. There have been no known cases of malaria reported in the Tampa Bay area
In the state of Florida we have had many cases of mosquito related illness and death reported in the past few years. In 2012, two Tampa residents died from Eastern equine encephalitis. The dengue virus reappeared in Florida after almost 60 years of being dormant in 2009. Last year, there were 28 confirmed cases of dengue fever in Florida. In 2012, there were 1118 cases of West Nile virus reported in the United States with 41 deaths resulting. There were 12 cases of West Nile reported in Florida.