Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

June 30, 2014

Fight the bite!

CROSSVILLE — Mosquito bites were part of my childhood summertime experience. Itchy bumps were the price paid for failing to heed Mother’s warning to head for home before the streetlights came on. In 2014 a mosquito bite might cause nothing more than itching and skin irritation at the bite site, but a number of mosquito-borne maladies now seen in the United States can be deadly.

Current-day mosquito breeds known to carry serious diseases bite both in daytime and at night. There are no cures nor are there vaccines to prevent humans getting viruses that mosquitos spread. Reducing mosquito breeding spots (in other words, standing water) around your yard and neighborhood combined with personal bite prevention efforts, are your best line of defense. Use insect repellents and wear protective clothing while outdoors whether in your own backyard, at travel locations or on a job site. The Tennessee Health Department West Nile Virus webpage http://health.state.tn.us/ceds/wnv/wnvhome.asp has more information.

Our recent warm, wet weather fosters higher mosquito populations. Water is critical to the mosquito life cycle. Eggs laid in standing water become larvae in puddles, ponds, ditches or artificial containers like old tires or flower pots. The "wrigglers" feed and grow shedding their older, smaller outer skins three times. A fourth stage larva forms a pupa within which over three or four days, the larva becomes an adult mosquito.

Both adult males and female mosquitos feed on nectar and plant juices. Females must also have a blood meal to ensure their eggs will develop so they are the ones who bite. A mosquito pokes her sharp proboscis through skin to a blood vessel, injects saliva to help with insertion and prevent blood clotting and then sucks blood. If blood drawn from a bird, warm-blooded animal or human contains disease organisms or parasites, they may infect the insect’s body. Once infected, that mosquito becomes a vector/carrier and may pass the disease and/or parasite on to other susceptible bite-victims.

Mosquito-transmitted sicknesses include dog heartworm, West Nile Virus (WNV), LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE) and St. Louis Encephalitis. In most cases mosquito-borne infections attack the victim’s body but not the central nervous system causing no symptoms or a mild illness including fever, headache, muscle aches, joint pain and/or a rash.

However, sometimes a transmitted virus inflames the spinal cord and brain causing encephalitis. (This is termed a "neuroinvasive" infection.) Symptoms may be severe fever, lethargy, altered mental status, lack of coordination, abnormal reflexes, paralysis, convulsions and/or stiff neck which require hospital care. Some patients die. Others may live with permanent damage for the rest of their lives.

The risk of severe disease is typically greater for babies, adults over 65 and people with pre-existing medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. In 2013, WNV was the most common mosquito-borne virus in the United States (1,267 cases). Children were most commonly afflicted with LaCrosse virus. Eastern Equine Encephalitis was rare, but the most severe disease transmitted to humans, with a 50-percent fatality rate.

This spring a very serious new mosquito-borne disease known as the Chikungunya virus (Chikv) has been making news. According to Dr. Abelardo Moncayo, director of vector-borne diseases for the Tennessee Department of Health, two mosquitos that can carry Chikv, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and the Yellow Fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) are found in every county in Tennessee and throughout the southeastern states.

The potential for outbreaks in our state are high. Infection begins three to seven days after an infected mosquito bites. Primary symptoms are a sudden fever over 102 degrees along with crippling joint and muscle pain that could last for weeks. Other possible symptoms include headaches, joint swelling and rash.

• • •

Plateau Gardening written by Master Gardeners for gardeners in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland Region. Contact UT Extension Cumberland County at P.O. Box 483, Crossville, TN 38557 (931-484-6743) answers to horticulture questions, free publications and to learn about the Master Gardener program. Send email comments or yard and garden inquiries to Master Gardener Rae (MGardenerRae@frontiernet.net).

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • colorful kayaks.jpg Enjoying a day on the water

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Around the Town: There's plenty to look forward to this month

    Ready or not, here it comes! It is August, and that means an onslaught of activities, such as tax free weekend, back to school, election day, the 127 Yard Sale, football and the fair, are all rolling into Cumberland County over the next few weeks.

    July 31, 2014

  • Single-stream recycling tour planned

    A single-stream recycling tour will be Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 9 a.m. at the Solid Waste and Recycling Center Office at 20 Maryetta St. (in the old hardware store building).

    July 31, 2014

  • Gun and Knife Show to feature birds of prey

    The Cumberland County Community Complex will be the site of an educational and informative birds of prey program provided free of charge complements of the Cumberland Mountain State Park Rangers.

    July 31, 2014

  • FFG Resident Services Painting.jpg FFG Resident Services presents painting to the Pat Summitt Foundation

    A dramatic portrait of Pat Summitt, painted by Chuck Jensen, was presented to the Pat Summitt Foundation by Fairfield Glade Resident Services at its Community Information Event on memory care.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 127 seniors JosephZarolla-W6.jpg Zarola entertains 127 Seniors

    The members of the 127 South Senior Center met Friday, July 25, for bingo and Mexican Train domino game. Conversation, along with coffee and sweets, was enjoyed by all. Helen Lord called the bingo numbers, and the prizes were furnished by Eye Centers of Tennessee. Life Care Center checked everyone's blood pressures.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses (Published July 30, 2014)

    July 29, 2014

  • Habitat-Group photo-Crisp Dedication .jpg Habitat celebrates 55th home dedication

    Anne Crisp is excited that she and her two daughters have a home to call their own. Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity (CCHFH) dedicated the 55th home to be built in partnership with low-income families. Crisp put more than 500 hours of "sweat equity" into her home and has completed 50 hours of self-improvement, where she attended classes on budgeting, home maintenance and good neighbor among others.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Gypsy Rose to visit Fair Park

    The Cumberland County Playhouse is currently performing the award-winning Broadway play “Gypsy.” A great American story set during the 1920s fading vaudeville circuit, "Gypsy" portrays the rise of famed burlesque performer and stage mother Gypsy Rose Lee as she journeys across the country with her mother and sister during a time when Vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born. The complex character of Rose could be described as bold and brassy, as she steamrolls everyone in her way to turn her daughters June and Louise into child stars.

    July 28, 2014

  • plateau gardening-springBlooms4361.jpg Match August garden tasks to plant biology

    During all seasons in temperate climates like ours the greenery around us is changing. New shoots appear and leaves pop out of swollen buds after spring rains.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo