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Letter: Concern about Asian tiger mosquito

(FILES) Photo released 23 December 2005 shows the

(FILES) Photo released 23 December 2005 shows the Aedes Albopictus mosquito ( Asian Tiger Mosquito) which transmits the Chikungunya virus. Chikungunya is a rare viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. It is characterized by a rash, fever, and severe joint pain (arthralgias) that usually lasts for three to seven days. Italy's health authorities said 05 September 2007 they had recorded more than 160 cases of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, in what one expert said could be the first outbreak outside the tropics. AFP PHOTO RICHARD BOUHET (Photo credit should read RICHARD BOUHET/AFP/Getty Images) Credit: AFP/GETTY IMAGES / RICHARD BOUHET

The coming of mosquito season should give Long Islanders pause. For decades, mosquitoes have been seen merely as a backyard nuisance. But for most of human history, and still in much of the world today, mosquitoes are a mortal danger.

Long Island, like much of the East Coast, is seeing rising numbers of the Asian tiger mosquito. It is a foreign species that can breed in just a puddle of water, is highly resilient, and is out feeding night and day, unlike our native mosquitoes that come out at night.

The rise also of West Nile virus in our area should be a blaring alarm to anyone paying attention. Mosquitoes are one of nature's greatest spreaders of disease.

A focused, concerted public effort to eliminate much of the mosquito population is one way we can protect ourselves and our families. Backyard barbecues are really the very least of our mosquito problems.

Scott Salvato, Wantagh