- Posted by Lance
- On April 9, 2020
- 0 Comments
Disease has killed more people over our history on this planet than virtually any other cause — even war. What many may not immediately consider though, is that before human-to-human transmission of these infections, there is often animal-to-human transmission.
If you look at any major pandemic of the past, you are likely to see a source with pests like rats, bats, mosquitoes and fleas carrying and spreading the pathogen. We tend to build up immunities to the diseases already in our community — a process called “herd immunity” — but when new diseases are introduced, it can be trouble. When smallpox was introduced to Native Americans and when the Bubonic Plague was introduced to Europeans, a large proportion, likely a majority, of both populations, were killed.
Below we will look at a few examples of when pandemics were aided by pests:
The Bubonic plague
Between 30 and 60% of Europe’s population died in the mid 1300s due to the Bubonic Plague. Looking back, historians have pinpointed what caused the spread and are generally in agreement that it was fleas riding on black rats. The rats lived in close quarters with humans, and the fleas on the rats then bit those people, infecting them with the plague.
Malaria is one of the great killers of history. Mosquitoes are the biggest carrier of the disease, and other than keeping the blood-suckers at bay with nets and bug spray, poorer, more tropical areas of the world have not yet been able to defeat this disease. Around a million people a year die today from malaria, and in times of flooding, it can be much worse.
Coronaviruses and flu viruses
These viruses, which often cause fever, body aches and difficulty breathing, have been with us a long time. But new versions of them are constantly being incubated in the animal world. Bird and swine flus have been transferred from animals to humans, and coronaviruses are very common in bats. Many of the recent flu and coronavirus outbreaks have come from poor animal hygiene practices, especially in China. Meat markets without proper attention to disease transmission have been determined to be the culprit behind the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as recent bird flu and SARS outbreaks.
Taking pest control seriously on your property
To avoid the spread of diseases from wild animals, it is vital to avoid as much contact with mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, rats, bats and other pathogen-spreading pests as possible. Spraying for insects and trapping or otherwise eliminating small, wild mammals on your property is the responsibility of the property owner and ensures the safety of any people present.
Call Critter Control of the Triangle if you need potentially disease-carrying pests removed from your property. We serve those in Durham, Wake, Orange and Chatham counties and can be reached at (919) 382-0651. Call for more information today.