Mosquitoes breed in water, so this year’s heavy rainfall is expected to produce a bumper crop of the pesky bugs and increase the risk of spreading West Nile Virus in our community. The Weber-Morgan Health Department would like to remind homeowners to take a few simple steps to help stop the spread:
- Farmers and gardeners need to be vigilant about wearing long pants and shirt sleeves and using insect repellent from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active. While DEET has proven to be the most effective repellent, you could also look for products containing picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD).
- Eliminate any standing water around your yard and to rotate any standing water such as birdbaths, flower pots, and pet dishes. This includes cleaning clogged gutters, repairing leaky faucets and sprinklers and covering barrels and buckets.
- Keep weeds and grass cut short so the mosquitoes don’t have shady places to rest during the hot afternoons. Check windows and doors to see if the screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes from entering your home.
- You may also purchase packets of non-toxic biological mosquito larvacide that dissolves in water. It kills mosquito larvae before they hatch into biting adults.
- Horses can contract West Nile Virus and it is usually fatal. Horse owners should vaccinate their animals to protect them and help mitigate the spread of the disease. There is no vaccine for humans, so be prepared to take other precautions.
WNV affects the central nervous system. Mild symptoms include: including fever, headache and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the stomach, back and chest. These symptoms typically last a few days.
Severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, vision loss and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks and neurological effects may be permanent.
Infected people typically develop symptoms between 3 and 14 days after they are bitten. If you think you have WNV, contact your physician.