LSU AgCenter has five new public health entomology fact sheets

Much of the public’s attention on health issues has focused on Zika virus, which is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. To help people get a better understanding of Zika and other insect-related health problems, the LSU AgCenter has come up with five public health entomology facts sheets that address these concerns.

The topics are Zika virus, other mosquito-borne viruses, choosing the correct repellent and scabies, an infestation of the skin caused by human itch mites.

The fact sheets were written by Kristin Healy, AgCenter medical entomologist.

The Zika virus fact sheet defines what Zika is, how it is transmitted, what the health risks are and what steps can be taken to avoid contracting it.

The mosquito-borne virus fact sheet highlights health issues that many Louisianans have become familiar with over the past few years, such as Eastern equine encephalitis, West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis. It includes the basic principles for avoiding contact with mosquitoes.

The repellent fact sheet examines techniques and strategies people can use to protect themselves against mosquitoes and other insects, including the proper selection of repellents. This fact sheet features some of the active ingredients individuals should look for in choosing a repellent such as DEET or Picaridin. It also contains a list of frequently asked questions about insect repellents.

A fourth fact sheet explains scabies, a skin condition caused by the human itch mite. The sheet defines scabies, how it is spread, and signs and symptoms. It also includes treatment methods and ways to prevent contracting scabies.

A fifth fact sheet looks at the relationship between pesticides and fireflies. According to the fact sheet, no scientific studies have shown a decline in fireflies, but many people report seeing fewer.

One culprit that was suspected in the firefly reduction was pesticides, including those used in mosquito control. The fact sheet helps explain that there is no scientific study indicating that pesticides are responsible, but firefly populations vary for several reasons, including weather conditions, predators and availability of habitat.

Aedes aegypti.jpg thumbnail

This is a female Aedes aegypti mosquito while she is in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. Commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito, it has a smaller distribution in Louisiana than the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Both can potentially transmit diseases to humans. Photo by James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control

8/8/2016 8:34:17 PM
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