Both dogs and horses are possible hosts for mosquito-borne diseases. Dog heartworm is a serious threat to canine life and is costly to treat once an animal becomes infected. Dog heartworm can be transmitted by one of the mosquito species, the northern house mosquito, which also transmits West Nile Virus. Horses are susceptible to both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. In Sussex County during the 2000 season, 3 horses died of West Nile Encephalitis. Consult your veterinarian for the availability of horse vaccines.
The most efficient method of controlling mosquitoes is by reducing the availability of water suitable for larval and pupal growth. Large lakes, ponds, and streams that have waves, contain mosquito-eating fish, and lack aquatic vegetation around their edges do not contain mosquitoes; mosquitoes thrive in smaller bodies of water in protected places. Examine your home and neighborhood and take the following precautions:
· Dispose of unwanted buckets and tires.
· Clean clogged roof gutters and drain flat roofs.
· Flush sump-pump pits weekly.
· Stock ornamental pools with fish.
· Change water in birdbaths, fountains, and troughs twice a week.
· Clean and chlorinate swimming pools; when not regularly used, they should be emptied.
· Turn over unused wading pools and other containers that tend to collect rainwater.
· Cover containers tightly with window screen or plastic when storing rainwater for garden use during drought periods.
Mosquito-borne diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever, have plagued civilization for thousands of years. Organized mosquito control in the United States has greatly reduced the incidence of these diseases. However, there are still a few diseases that mosquitoes in New Jersey can transmit. West Nile Virus is the newest introduced mosquito-borne virus but several other viruses have been in New Jersey for a long time including those that cause Eastern Equine Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis.