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Mosquito Tests Positive for West Nile in Harris County

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(Credit: Thinkstock Images)

(Credit: Thinkstock Images)

When the mercury starts to climb, so does the mosquito population. This is also when you’ll find crews with the Harris County Mosquito Control division hard at work.

They’ve already set 268 traps in storm drains and above ground countywide. That’s how they located the first mosquito sample to test positive for West Nile. The sample has just been found in Northeast Harris County in  zip code 77346.

Because of this discovery, the evening spray operation will now be mobilized. Trucks will go to the targeted area 3 times a week and the surrounding areas once a week. The spray is contact driven which means it must hit the mosquitos which usually take flight at sunset. There are 56 different species of mosquitos that call Harris County Home but it’s the Southern House Mosquito that is the primary carrier of West Nile. It rests during the day and is very active at night which is why the evening spraying is crucial.

Dr. Rudy Bueno, Director of HCPHES Mosquito Control says, “Our comprehensive mosquito surveillance program is key to identifying the presence of the virus in our community and guides our control efforts to help us better protect our residents. West Nile Virus has been in our environment since 2002.  As we head into the summer months, enjoy the outdoors but remember to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne disease.”

For more information about West Nile Virus,  here is the Mosquito Control website at www.hcphes.org.

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The Southern House Mosquito is a weak flyer that likes to stay close to where it emerged as an adult. Here is how to control the mosquito population around your home. It’s as simple as getting rid of standing water. It takes very little water for a mosquito to lay eggs and breed.

Mosquito-Proof Your Property

  • Don’t “feed” the storm drains.  Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs.
  • Remove/empty any containers that can hold water such as tires, flowerpots and toys.
  • Change water in birdbaths and pet water bowls every 3 to 5 days.
  • Keep rain gutters free of debris.
  • Make sure screens are in good condition.

Prevent Mosquito Breeding in Boats

  • Cover your boat and store it in a covered place.
  • Drain any standing water and make sure the bilge pump is working.
  • Invert canoes, kayaks and small boats to store.

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West Nile is a mosquito born virus. the main way it is passed is when a mosquito bites an infected bird and then bites another bird, human or animal. Here’s how to protect yourself.

Personal Protection

·         When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 and apply as directed on the label.

·         If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants from dusk on because this is when the primary mosquito (Culex) that transmits West Nile Virus is most active.

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Many people infected with West Nile Virus may have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. But in some cases there are severe even deadly consequences. Here’s what to look look out for: low grade fever and headache.  More severe signs and symptoms can include: high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, encephalitis, and rarely, death.  If you think you have been infected with West Nile Virus, contact your health care provider.

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