The sobering statistics about mosquito and tick-borne illness in South Carolina

Dread Skeeter for Mosquito SquadLast year, vector-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease and West Nile Virus reported an all-time high among reported human cases. Mosquitoes and ticks are responsible each year for making thousands of people and pets sick – some even resulting in death. Most South Carolinians think that vector-borne illnesses happen elsewhere in the United States, but in fact they happen right here on South Carolina soil and in more sobering numbers than you might have imagined.Map of SC

The most common mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses in South Carolina are West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Based on data from The USGS disease maps provided through the U.S. Department of the Interior in conjunction with the CDC, the reported number of vector-borne illnesses in humans contracted from mosquitoes and ticks in 2012 was as follows:

Mosquito blood meal

Mosquito-Borne illness numbers for South Carolina 

  • West Nile Virus – The total number of human WNV infections in 2012 was 29, the number for the entire US was 5,674. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control there were also 4 confirmed cases of West Nile Encephalitis confirmed in our state for 2012. We also had 16 confirmed cases West Nile Fever.
  • Lacrosse Encephalitis – South Carolina had one reported case in 2012 and 78 reported cases nationwide
  • Dengue Fever – South Carolina had two reported cases during 2012, with 545 total reported cases in the U.S.

Tick- Borne illness numbers for South Carolina

  • Lyme Disease – According to the SCDHEC there were 23 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease in S.C. for 2012. We also not the last reported numbers showing state to state confirmed cases of the disease comes to us from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which show in 2011 South Carolina had a total of 24 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease, the total number of confirmed cases for the US was 24,364.
Deer tick or blacklegged tick on leaf waiting for you to pass by

Ticks carry a host of diseases and thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – In 2012 South Carolina had 10 confirmed cases of this illness, and 41 additional probable cases.

These statistics do not include many probable or undiagnosed cases of mosquito and tick borne illness. The SCDHEC Bureau of Disease Control reported in South Carolina, through October 5, 2012, there were 29 people confirmed ill with West Nile Fever or West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease. Three of these persons died. An additional 11 persons with no symptoms of West Nile infection were identified through screening of donated blood. South Carolina experienced more cases of West Nile Disease, in any form, in 2012 than in any previous year.

West Nile Virus is the most common mosquito-borne illness in North America and Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne disease. When Lyme Disease is left untreated infection it can spread to the joints, the heart and even the nervous system.


This image shows the bulls-eye rash that is a common symptom of most cases of Lyme disease in the diseases first phase.

Lyme Disease is the most widely misdiagnosed of all the vector-borne illnesses and is commonly referred to as the “great pretender”. This is because the symptoms of Lyme do indeed mimic the symptoms of other illnesses such as arthritis, asthma, depression and even eczema (due in part to the illnesses trademark rash that sometimes accompanies the presence of Lyme).

As you read over the statistics for vector-borne illness, you can clearly see these illnesses are not as uncommon in our neck of the woods as one may think. In order to keep your family safe from the risk of contracting one of these illnesses this season it is crucial to take control of your property to make it less hospitable for mosquitoes and ticks. By exercising smart mosquito and tick control practices on your property and having a licensed professional treat your property, you can dramatically reduce your risk of contracting a vector-borne illness.

The crew at Mosquito Squad of Columbia is here to protect you and your family from mosquitoes and  ticks all season long.

The crew at Mosquito Squad of Columbia is here to protect you and your family from mosquitoes and ticks all season long.

Contact Mosquito Squad of Columbia today to learn more about our mosquito control and tick control prevention programs that are geared towards keeping your and your family safe from mosquito and tick-borne illness and disease. Now is the time to act in order to stay healthy and happy this season! Call us today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 •


The common denominators for Lyme disease in Columbia, SC consist of an acorn, a mouse and a tick

various sized ticks

Every size tick is capable of spreading Lyme disease.

The combination of a milder than usual winter, paired with abundant rainfall and humid temperatures have caused a boom on the numbers of ticks crawling their way all over the Columbia, SC area. With more ticks in the region, there is more risk of contracting a vector-borne illness or disease from these ticks that could possibly be infected with Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Anaplasmosis and a host of other dangers.

Some of the types of ticks that harbor the most risk of disease are often the most difficult to see before it is too late. Deer ticks are responsible for the spread of Lyme disease and Babesiosis. Deer ticks are smaller in size than other species of ticks, and are especially tiny during the nymph stage of their life. Some nymph ticks, also referred to in this area as “seed ticks”, are no larger than a poppy-seed. Though small in size, they pack a big punch if carrying a tick-borne illness.


Nymph ticks are sometimes as tiny as poppy seeds like the ones on this bagel.

Since there is no cure or vaccination for Lyme Disease or Babesiosis,  it is crucial that residents take note and exercise effective tick control practices on their property. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in 2011, 39 South Carolinians developed Lyme Disease. The conditions are more ripe this season for Lyme Disease cases in our state and this gives rise to the need for  SC tick control and prevention. Keeping debris picked up, bushes trimmed, and high grass mowed are the first steps in preventing ticks. Frequent checks for typical tick breeding grounds such as along fence lines and rocky areas should be part of your regular yard inspections. Having a licensed tick control professional treat your property is also very important.

SC abundance of Acorns

Having a lot of these around could mean more cases of Lyme disease in our area.

A thorough tick control and prevention program should include the use of tick tubes in conjunction with a barrier spray program to halt the life cycle of the tick to prevent the risk of coming into contact with a potentially infected tick. Tick Tubes use is especially important this season because of the tremendous crop of acorns in our area this year. A recent report by WISTV channel 10 indicates that researchers have concluded the acorns abundance is spurring a rise in mice populations and thus a rise in the deer tick populations as well. There is a direct link between mice and the spread of Lyme Disease. Deer ticks hitch a ride on mice and are taken back to the rodent’s den where they feed and mature in safety. They then emerge as nymphs ready to feed from us, our children and our pets. The abundant supply of acorns will spur an increase in mouse populations, and with more mice come more deer ticks. Tick tubes are the most effective means to disrupt the life cycle of the tick and decrease the number of deer ticks to spread Lyme Disease and Babesiosis.

How tick tubes work.

How tick tubes work

Tick tubes are small tubes filled with cotton that has been treated with a mild insecticide that is harmless to the mice, but deadly to the ticks living in their nests. The mice will take the treated cotton back to their nests to use as bedding, once the treated cotton enters the nest it kills the uninvited house guest living there (the deer tick). Tick tubes are spread throughout your property at the appropriate times and are found to reduce the risk of exposure to an infected tick by up to 97% on a treated property. The whole innovative concept is a win/win situation for people and mice. We are free from the risks deer ticks carry and the mice get a nice fluffy nest too!


Mosquito Squad of Columbia kills ticks dead.

Mosquito Squad of Columbia specializes in intensive tick control and prevention programs that include the effective use of tick tubes as well as our safe and effective barrier sprays. Contact us today to learn more about keeping yourself and your family safe from tick-borne illness and disease this season. We are dedicated to wiping out the risk of disease here in Columbia, one yard at a time.

Call us today for a free quote • (803) 345 – 7575 •