Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Creepy Crawlies, Part 1: Mighty Mosquitoes - Full Article

by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
June 01 2012, Article # 20322

They might be small, but these flying fiends can spread some deadly diseases
The original intent of this article was to relay how malicious and deadly some mosquitoes are, but according to Charles Calisher, PhD, professor of microbiology, immunology, and pathology at Colorado State University, mosquitoes are neither spiteful nor a menace to society. "Mosquitoes are not deadly," he explains. "It is the viruses and microbes they transmit that are deadly."

So although mosquitoes do not willfully harm horses (aside from getting a snack), it is still important for owners to minimize contact between mosquitoes' mouthparts and their horses.

"Mosquitoes transmit some of the deadliest and most debilitating diseases in the world, including malaria, dengue fever, and lymphatic filariasis," says Nicholas Ledesma, a DVM/PhD candidate in the field of Comparative Biomedical Sciences at Cornell University. "In addition to the human mortality and decreased quality of life they cause, mosquito-borne diseases (arboviruses) such as Eastern equine encephalitis afflict both domestic and wild animal populations."

In this article we will describe how mosquitoes transmit viral infections, identify the most important viral infections horses can acquire from these annoying arthropods, and describe methods for protecting horses from infection through vaccination and control ¬measures.

How Mosquitoes Spread Disease

Many consider mosquitoes to be one of the world’s most annoying creatures. They have six long, spindly legs, scaly wings and bodies, antennae, and the pièce de résistance: long, needlelike mouthparts able to pierce both human and animal skin...

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