The Richardson City Council heard an update at its work session Monday on steps the Health Department is taking to combat the spread of West Nile virus through prevention and public education measures. In 2012 North Texas (especially Dallas County) was at the epicenter of a widespread outbreak of West Nile Virus in humans and mosquito test samples.
In past years, the Health Department’s program to prevent the spread of West Nile included surveillance, public information and ground spraying. Additional measures implemented for 2013 include:
- Earlier monitoring of mosquito populations using traps throughout the city
- Residential pool abatement, to reduce areas where mosquitoes can breed
- Closer collaboration among departments to reduce areas where water can become stagnant
- Deploying fish that can eat mosquito larvae, and increasing the areas where larvicide is used
- Improving the adulticide response by working with a private contractor that can provide additional ground spraying capacity
- Collaborating more closely with regional partners to provide an improved response across all agencies
In addition to measures that the City is implementing, residents can help protect themselves from mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus by following the “Four D’s”:
- Drain standing water
- Avoid being out at Dusk and Dawn
- Dress in long sleeves and pants
- Apply an insect repellent containing DEET
West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness that is transmitted by a bite from an infected mosquito that’s already carrying the virus. Most people will not show any sign of infection, but many will have mild symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. 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.
For more information, visit www.cor.net/mosquito. Watch the City Council presentation at http://bit.ly/10iRvhG.