Japanese Encephalitis-Spreading Mosquitoes Hit Hard by Heat | Be Korea-savvy

Japanese Encephalitis-Spreading Mosquitoes Hit Hard by Heat

(image: Korea Bizwire)

(image: Korea Bizwire)

SEOUL, Jul. 30 (Korea Bizwire)With the mercury soaring to record highs, the population of a species of mosquitoes (culex tritaeniorhynchus) known as the carrier of Japanese encephalitis has been decimated.

According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only eight of the pesky mosquito specimens were collected on average per day between July 8 and 14, which was 71.4 percent fewer than last year’s daily average of 28 over the same period.

Considering that 45 specimens are collected on average during the period, this year’s numbers are 82.2 percent lower than the norm.

As record-breaking temperatures swept the nation following a very short monsoon season, experts suspect the lack of water puddles caused by this year’s weather conditions has left the mosquitoes without a proper place to lay their eggs.

An official who analyzes collected mosquito samples said that July is the period when mosquitoes usually start breeding in great numbers.

“But because of the short monsoon rain and the subsequent high temperatures, the number of mosquitoes seems to have dropped a significantly,” said the expert.

However, health experts say that the reason behind the decrease should be analyzed further, especially as the culprit insects are known to remain very active until the late summer season.

The illness known as the Japanese encephalitis spreads to humans when mosquito carriers of the disease transfer it from pigs carrying the virus.

Although only 5 percent of those bitten by the infected mosquitos end up with the illness, the death rate is high at 30 percent because physical symptoms can be lacking.

Medical experts say that people should wear bright colored long pants and long-sleeve clothing made of thick textiles to avoid being exposed to the mosquitoes outdoors.

Outdoor adventurers are advised to spray mosquito repellent on their skin, clothes, shoes and socks and to avoid wearing strong perfumes that may attract mosquitoes carrying the potentially lethal disease.

H. S. Seo (hsseo@koreabizwire.com)

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