The Richardson Health Department sprayed a portion of southeast Richardson July 19 due to a report of a positive West Nile virus test result from a mosquito monitoring station near the intersection of East Belt Line and North Grove Roads.
The Richardson Health Department schedules mosquito sprayings based on positive findings of West Nile in mosquito traps placed around the city or if a human case is confirmed. Once located, the area around the positive finding is targeted for spraying in an attempt to help limit the spread of the disease. However, spraying is only a measure to help limit exposure, and health workers urge people to maintain vigilance in protecting themselves when going outside.
To protect from mosquito bites, people are asked to follow the Four D’s of protection:
- DRAIN standing water around the home,
- Use insect repellent containing DEET,
- Avoid being outdoors at DUSK and DAWN when mosquitoes are most active,
- And DRESS to protect yourself with long sleeves and pants to reduce skin exposure.
Spraying to control the population of mosquitoes and the spread of the West Nile virus is a last resort, and is part of a comprehensive plan the Richardson Health Department follows to control the mosquito population. All areas of the city are continuously monitored, and further sprayings will be scheduled based on mosquito surveillance used to monitor the spread of the West Nile virus.
Richardson is not alone in the noticed increase in mosquito populations and findings of West Nile in mosquitoes. Environmental conditions from last summer's drought, a mild winter and abundant spring rains have resulted in an increased population.
More on the West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus is caused by a bite from an infected mosquito that's already carrying the virus, but not all mosquitoes are capable of carrying or transmitting the disease. In North Texas, the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito is greatest from July to October. Not everyone who gets bitten by an infected mosquito will get the virus, and it's rare for people to become very sick if they do develop symptoms from the disease.
Symptoms of West Nile virus vary depending upon the person who becomes infected. People who do develop symptoms usually suffer from mild "flu-like" illness. Rarely, symptoms may require medical care or hospitalization. The people who are most susceptible to the disease are the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.