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Watch out for those hurricane skeeters!

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Hurricane Florence was expected to bring rain, wind, and even heavy-duty cleanup after she left. It is what hurricanes do. 

What we didn’t expect was for Hurricane Florence to bring mosquitoes. Lots of them.

Technically, the hurricane didn’t “bring” mosquitoes, but it did whip them up in a frenzy. I guess all the standing water triggered something in the parasitic little vampires akin to the rut for deer. 

That really is unfortunate, too, as the deer rut is what hunters wait for. However, how is a hunter supposed to take a deer during rut, or even pre-rut, if the hunter is too busy swatting at those little flying hypodermic needles with a lust for blood?

Seriously though, mosquitoes are on a rampage with a thirst for blood as being reported everywhere from Myrtle Beach to Nags Head to the Pisgah National Forest and everywhere, and I do mean everywhere, in between. Also, as unfortunate as the timing of this extracurricular activity from these demon-spawned insectoid “succubi” is what they bring other than a temporary itchy, inflamed bump.

We have already been accustomed to fearing West Nile Virus. The media has it embedded in our brains about the seriousness of the disease and how the mosquitoes are the device for embedding it into our bloodstreams. So far this year, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control, there have been nearly 1,100 known cases in the United States resulting in 35 deaths.

Not only is this an issue following the hurricane with a rise in mosquitoes and breeding waters, but it is also an issue as far as blood donations. As is normal, following a natural disaster such as the hurriricane and resulting flood waters, blood donations tend to hit a spurt. 

West Nile is not easy to monitor as the disease may take anywhere from three days to a little over a week to detect symptoms, and it can be transferred via blood transfusion.

Through the first of September, the CDC reports nearly 200 donors have given blood containing the dangerous virus. So far, North Carolina and South Carolina have combined for seven known cases with two deaths as a result. 

Meanwhile, all reported within the last week, have been two deaths in Pennsylvania, one in New Jersey, one in Texas and 11 cases reported in Mobile County, Alabama. Just because the Carolinas haven’t reported more cases doesn’t mean we won’t very soon.

Another thing that has crept up among mosquito bites that isn’t thought of as much is a spike in staphylococcus, or more commonly known as staph infection.

Staph infections do not come from the mosquito per se, but the scratching of the bite leaves an open sore which becomes vulnerable to catching the staphylococcus bacteria. And much like West Nile virus, staph infections can also be very serious.

In fact, staph infections can result between 10 percent to 30 percent mortality rate of those who get infected. 

Add in types of the infection such as MRSA, which is drug-resistant, and you can understand the concerns that a simple bite from a mosquito can ultimately cause.

Bill Howard is an avid bowhunter and outdoorsman. He teaches hunter education (IHEA) and bowhunter education (IBEP) in North Carolina. He is a member of North Carolina Bowhunters Association and Pope & Young, and is an official measurer for both.

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