The Southeast region, including North Carolina, is experiencing an increase in mosquito activity, posing a threat to public health due to the spread of diseases such as West Nile and Zika. This is due to various factors such as climate change, land use change and invasive species, resulting in a vastly different mosquito landscape than it was a few decades ago. Recent studies by Climate Central show that North Carolina experiences the most mosquito days per year, accounting for nearly 60% per year.

The Raleigh area has seen an increase of 27 days since 1979 with conditions favorable to mosquito activity. In 2023, North Carolina reported nearly 900 cases of tick- and mosquito-borne diseases. To raise awareness about the risks of vector-borne diseases, the North Carolina Department of Health launched the “Fight the Bite” campaign during Tick and Mosquito Awareness Month in April. The campaign aims to educate residents about preventive measures they can take to protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases.

Experts recommend taking steps to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, such as using insect repellents with DEET, wearing protective clothing and installing or repairing window screens. Additionally, the Tip and Toss method can help eliminate mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water from various sources at least once a week. It is advised to consult with healthcare professionals or local health departments before traveling to areas where exotic mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent to ensure appropriate precautions are taken.

Climate change has led to an increase in mosquito activity across North Carolina and other regions in the Southeast United States. This has resulted in a greater risk of diseases that these insects can transmit, such as West Nile virus and Zika virus. As temperatures continue to rise and rainfall patterns become more unpredictable, it’s important for individuals living in these areas

By Samantha Johnson

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