by Joe Arterburn


Judging by the number of people they kill every year, mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, encephalitis, yellow fever, West Nile virus and Zika virus—the latest to make headlines—cause an estimated 725,000 deaths worldwide every year. Malaria alone kills more than 600,000 people each year. In deadliness comparison, humans rank second, causing 475,000 human deaths each year, followed by snakes, 50,000; dogs (via rabies), 25,000; tsetse fly 10,000. Sharks, which receive enormous notoriety through headlines and movies, account for ten human deaths each year.

The spread of West Nile virus, now found in all 48 contiguous United States, and growing concern over the Zika virus threat brings into sharp focus the need for disease prevention, namely, keeping mosquitos from biting you.

No cases of Zika reported in the U.S. have been caused by mosquitoes in the U.S., according to the CDC, though there have been cases in the U.S. picked up through travel to other areas. However, local transmission of Zika has been found in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands.

West Nile virus, however, has spread across the continental U.S. and Canada since it was first detected in North America in 1999. West Nile virus has also been documented in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Australia and parts of Asia.

The West Nile virus is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes, which become infected when they feed on infected birds. While as many as 70 to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile develop no symptoms, about one in five will develop fever and headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months, according to the CDC. Less than one percent develop serious illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, which can cause headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremor, seizures or paralysis. Recovery can take weeks or months, and about ten percent who develop neurologic infection due to West Nile will die, the CDC says.

The bottom line? Mosquitoes should be taken seriously.


“Protecting yourself from mosquitoes used to be a matter of convenience and comfort, but the recent headlines prove mosquitoes are a danger and should actively be protected against,” said Adam Goess of ThermaCELL, manufacturer of mosquito-repelling products. “Mosquito-borne illnesses continue to become more of concern when trying to enjoy the outdoors. ThermaCELL has been proven, tested, and trusted to provide effective mosquito protection while you are out in the field.”

ThermaCELL’s patented mosquito repellant has been rigorously tested by the U.S. Department of Defense and proven effective in warding off biting insects including mosquitoes, black flies and those pesky no-see-ums while being harmless to humans and pets.

ThermaCELL appliances incorporate a small mat saturated with repellent which copies a naturally-occurring repellent in chrysanthemum flowers. Heat generated by a butane cartridge vaporizes the repellent, allowing it to disperse into the air, creating a zone of protection within minutes. The zone can be a spacious 225-square-foot insect-free area.

“Many times when I am out in the field those little fears and worries creep into my mind: what if a bear climbs up my stand, what if I turn around and there is a mountain lion is standing there, what happens if a wolf or a pack of wolves start tracking me, but rarely have I asked myself what happens if a mosquito bites me,” Goess said. “I am not dismissing the previous worries but now mosquitoes are as high a risk to your health and even life, so that now the smallest of predators are now some of the most dangerous.”

ThermaCELL manufactures easy-to-take-along repellers, lanterns, torches and accessories. The Repellers, which come in several models, and Scout Lantern, which combines a powerful light with insect-repellent protection, are of particular interest to hunters and other active outdoor enthusiasts who require convenient take-along protection.

Recognized by leading entomologists and outdoor experts, ThermaCELL is sold in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia, helping keep at bay the deadliest animals in the world.