Mosquito Borne Illness in WisconsinIn Wisconsin, the most common mosquito-borne diseases are West Nile Virus and La Crosse Encephalitis. Residents who travel to other countries can also be at risk for travel-related diseases, such as Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever or Zika virus infection.
The Midwest also has one of the higher rates of reported mosquito-borne diseases in the country, especially in states like Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. These diseases include West Nile virus, dengue, and Jamestown Canyon virus, according to the CDC.
There are many illnesses spread by mosquitoes in Wisconsin. Not all mosquitoes spread illnesses, and you won’t get sick from every mosquito bite, but it is important to make sure you are aware of mosquitoes, the illnesses they can spread, and how to prevent bites in the first place.
Mosquitoes 101:• Basics: Mosquitoes are a type of fly. In Wisconsin, there are many types of mosquitoes, but only some types can spread illnesses. Most people who get sick from a mosquito bite will become ill in the summer and early fall. This is when mosquitoes are most active and people are outdoors.
• Life Cycle: Mosquitoes have a life cycle that includes four different stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs on or near water, and the eggs hatch after coming into contact with the water. After hatching, the larvae will feed until they have enough energy to change into pupae. The pupae then grow into adult mosquitoes, the only flying stage. Only adult female mosquitoes bite humans and other animals to get blood meals, after which they lay their eggs on or near water, starting the cycle again. The life cycle of a mosquito usually takes two weeks. However, it can range from four days to one month.
• Habitat: Mosquitoes live in areas with slow-moving or stagnant water, as well as forests, marshes, and tall grasses. Mosquitoes fly and land on animals or humans to bite the host’s skin and consume blood. Warmer and wetter climates can increase the risk of getting an illness from a mosquito. In Wisconsin, climate change has created favorable conditions for mosquitoes to survive in more areas of the state, has made the mosquito season longer, and allows infected mosquitoes to spread diseases faster.
• In general, mosquitoes can be divided into two different types based on the habitats where they lay their eggs: standing water mosquitoes and floodwater mosquitoes. Most mosquito eggs need small amounts of water to hatch and develop into adult mosquitoes.
• Prevention: The best way to avoid getting sick from a mosquito is to prevent bites in the first place. There are many ways to prevent mosquito bites, including wearing insect repellent and wearing appropriate clothes when you are outdoors.