As we experience warm temperatures and above average rainfall totals, mosquitoes are able to breed and move through their life cycle rapidly. Residents are being reminded to mosquito-proof themselves and their homes.
Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been identified in Allen County this week. Regardless of where you live, the Health Department urges you to wear insect repellent and take other precautions to protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne diseases.
West Nile virus is commonly found throughout the state each summer and there is usually an increase in activity as the season progresses. Starting in late June, the Department of Health has been trapping and testing mosquitoes for disease such as West Nile virus (WNv), Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) as part of its mosquito control program.
Since 2012, the Department of Health no longer routinely sprays when West Nile virus is detected. The focus is on primary prevention measures, such as education, source reduction and larviciding.
While most cases of West Nile virus are mild, a small percentage can result in central nervous system problems that can be life-threatening. In 2016, Allen County had less than five human cases of West Nile virus.
“As we do every summer, we urge people to take precautions by wearing insect repellent when working or playing outdoors and to rid their yards of mosquito breeding areas,” said Dave Fiess, Director of Vector Control & Environmental Services.
Residents can do that by emptying flower pots and other containers, replacing water in birdbaths, getting rid of un-rimmed tires, maintaining or tightly covering swimming pools, cleaning out clogged gutters and eliminating standing water on their property. The Department of Health also offers free mosquito-eating fish for ornamental ponds and water gardens. For more information, visit www.allencountyhealth.com or call (260) 449-7459 during normal business hours.