Why Bug-Borne Viruses are Still a Problem
Who could forget the uproar - and even panic - many people in the world felt surrounding the Zika virus? Here we are, less than a year after the uproar began, and already we’ve begun to put the fear and anxiety out of our minds; but are we actually safe from bug-borne viruses, or was this winter reprieve only the calm before the storm?
Factors That Bring About Bug-Borne Viruses
Mosquitoes have long been associated with malaria, which has been the bane of many African nations and the subject of decades of donations, research, and foreign support. Beyond malaria, however, are a number of potential diseases and viruses that can infect humans en masse, with the certainty of more to come in the future. Just what causes these viruses, and what are the risk levels and prevention techniques that we should be considering?
Why the Americas are Seeing Bug-Borne Viruses
As mentioned above, mosquito- and other insect-borne viruses are associated with African nations in many people’s minds - until recently, that is. The Zika outbreak that became famous around the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio presented a number of worrying effects that rightfully caused a panic; after all, there is almost no way to avoid exposure to bugs entirely, and the problem is made worse when the disease becomes communicable in ways other than insect contact. While the virus that Zika evolved from is believed to have come from Africa, it found a thriving area to take hold in when it entered Central and South America. Here are just some of the factors that promote unchecked insect and insect-borne virus growth here:
- Hundreds to thousands of unique species of mosquitoes, flies, and other potential airborne hosts for viruses to evolve and spread from, many of which live within a hundreds or thousands mile radius across numerous countries
- A generally warming climate that, while impacting the entire globe, is seeing temperatures rising in the Americas above the global average thanks to the flow of ocean currents and other factors; typically, airborne pests thrive in warmer climates, meaning their geographic “reach” and breeding seasons are getting steadily elongated
- International travel that helps to bring new people to expose, latent diseases to spread, and even species of insects to all-new continents and countries
- Rapid urbanization and increased population density, which lead to insect breeding and feeding grounds, concentrations for viruses to spread, and, traditionally, poverty, which is a major agitating factor for insect population growth
Dealing with pests may seem like a daunting task - and is - but we have developed numerous ways to control, reduce, and even eliminate virus outbreak risks in many areas. By following the techniques listed below, it is possible to take away many of the risk factors for virus outbreak and epidemic growth; these include:
- Insecticide and individual bug repellent usage, including our all-natural essential oil bug spray, to minimize exposure risk
- Vaccination and medical treatment of viruses and diseases, while reactionary, are one of the major lines of defense that we fall back to when an outbreak is underway
- Reducing insect breeding grounds, especially in urban areas, through public outreach and education programs that help to minimize standing water and other breeding factors
- Windows and sleeping nets that protect the poorest of our population when they are at their most vulnerable during sleeping and relaxation hours
- Releasing genetically-modified mosquitoes and other airborne insects that create a sterile generation, which can remove entire populations of insects from an area
- Improving our water collection, filtration, and general supplies to form a more hostile environment for these pests
- More drastic measures, such as widespread insecticide treatments in urban and suburban areas
As you can probably guess, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this problem; for instance, adding windows and bug nets to every single home in a second- or third-world country is a dramatic undertaking, whereas that is already standardized in the at-risk areas of the southern United States. Most international and domestic experts agree that whatever approach is taken by governments should be a multi-pronged, synchronized attempt at diminishing the exposure to at-risk areas and growth of virus-prone species within their borders; anything short of this will likely fall short - and certainly has historically.
Try Our Essential Oil Bug Spray
At BB’s All Natural FlyAway Spray, we are dedicated to using the solutions nature has already provided for keeping away mosquitoes, flies, and other airborne pests. By leveraging the powers of essential oils derived from naturally insect-repellent plants, we keep your family and horses free from airborne pests and much safer from the viruses they can carry with them. Check out our entire selection of natural essential oil bug spray to find one for every outdoor occasion!