I see you over there, don’t think I don’t know what you have in mind. We play this game every year; you, waiting until I turn out the lights, buzzing past my ear once to signal your approaching legions. Your stealth is not lost on me, I applaud your patient perseverance. We have the same discussion every summer -I’ve told you how impressed I am – what more do you want? I realize the question is silly, you’re after my blood, the only thing that sustains and guarantees your survival. Fair enough Mosquito, but why me? Why not my husband, children, dog, any of the millions of people who surely taste as good? Why am I the focus of your life? Is it because I react so violently to your bites? Do you get some sick pleasure out of watching me scratch until looking like a small pox victim?
I know you’ll refuse to answer, so lets play the game. I’ll spend half an hour turning over every corner, flushing out and dispatching reckless scouts, swatting myself into a false sense of security. You’ll watch from whatever demon hole you inhabit until I’m ready to go to bed. No doubt you’re laughing so hard, it takes a few minutes to gain composure for that first dive. You could just bite me yet never fail to trumpet your assault. All part of the game isn’t it Mosquito? Gauging how quickly I’ll levitate on my way to the light, snickering as I try to hunt you down. Usually content to play this way for hours – you don’t have anything to do in the morning.
You’re not yourself tonight Mosquito – I can’t tell you how relieved this makes me. Yes, the heat is oppressive, heat waves usually are – neither of us are ourselves. It’s too hot to play, forgive me for ending it now. Very funny Mosquito, in all our years I’ve not seen that much of my blood explode on the bedroom wall. Well played Mosquito.
When I think of Dengue Fever the last thing to cross my mind would be outbreaks in Europe or North America. Dengue is a tropical problem; found in Africa and jungles of the southern hemisphere – or so I thought. I hadn`t given Dengue much thought; aside from my perception it was a `jungle fever`, something that lurked in the night with malaria, the only other thing I knew was it is also called yellow fever, and caused a lot of trouble for Americans building the Panama Canal. Admittedly, a rather vague understanding.
Aedes aegypti, albopictus, and japonicus are the mosquitoes responsible for spreading this nasty `flu-like` virus. Dengue can`t be transmitted from person to person through contact, only the bite of a female mosquito carrying the virus can spread the unwelcome news. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 50 – 100 million cases annually, with almost half the world population now at risk. Before 1970 only 9 countries had Dengue epidemics, today over 100 countries are plagued by Dengue.
In the late 90`s carriers were found in Long Island, New York and Ocean County, New Jersey. Today these mosquitoes have shown up from Washington state to Florida, in Canadian provinces, Germany, France, and New Zealand. In North America fewer than 10% of cases are properly diagnosed – it`s unlikely your doctor would suspect Dengue unless you had recently travelled to a tropical location.
Dengue is not epidemic in North America or Europe; it is knocking at the door, and spreading at an incredible rate. There are those who blame it on climate change, and those who credit increased imports of products like `lucky bamboo` harbouring mosquito larvae. Either way these pests are extremely adaptable and by all appearances quite happy to join West Nile Virus as something we need to ponder.