Now is the time to stop mosquitoes from breeding around your home
Vancouver, WA—There are plenty of great reasons to be outdoors this time of year, but mosquitoes aren’t among them. Culex mosquitoes can spread West Nile Virus, a potentially serious or fatal disease for which there is no specific treatment. You can reduce your risk of exposure to the disease by eliminating mosquito habitat around your home and avoiding mosquito bites.
“Culex mosquitoes become active in the warm summer months, so this is a good time to get rid of any areas of standing water,” said Steve Kessler, operations manager for the Mosquito Control District (MCD). “Mosquitoes need only a few teaspoons of water to reproduce, so inspect your property carefully.”
To prevent mosquitoes from breeding:
• Drain standing water from old tires, flower pots, plastic tarps, wheelbarrows and anything else that can hold water.
• Change water in bird baths, ponds, wading pools, pet bowls and animal troughs twice a week.
• Repair leaking faucets and sprinklers.
• Clean clogged gutters.
• Cover trash containers so they don't accumulate water.
• Properly maintain swimming pools.
• Check for containers or trash in hard-to-see places, such as under bushes.
Residents who notice areas of standing water in their neighborhoods are encouraged to contact the MCD at (360) 397-8430.
The other primary West Nile Virus prevention strategy is to avoid mosquito bites. Here’s how:
• Use mosquito repellent when you are outdoors, especially at dawn, dusk and early evening, when culex mosquitoes are most active. Repellents with DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are recommended. Use according to directions, especially when applying to children.
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
• When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes, socks and hats outside, especially in wooded areas.
• Place mosquito netting over infant carriers when outdoors.
Most people infected with West Nile Virus will not have any illness. About 20 percent of people infected will develop mild symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headaches and body aches, three to 14 days after the bite. An estimated one in 150 people infected will become seriously ill with neurological symptoms that may be long-term or permanent. Adults 55 and older are at increased risk for developing more severe symptoms.
There is no West Nile vaccination for humans, but vaccinations are available for horses. Horse owners should contact their veterinarians for more information.
West Nile Virus has been present in Washington since 2002. Its spread is unpredictable, but significant increases in cases have been seen in many areas of the country years after the virus’ introduction.
People cannot become infected with West Nile Virus from other people or animals. But dead Corvid birds, such as crows, jays and magpies, may indicate the presence of West Nile Virus. To report a dead Corvid in Clark County, call Public Health at (360) 397-8482.
Mosquito Control District prevention activities have moved from treating habitat for flood water mosquitoes, which don’t carry West Nile Virus, to treating catch basins, retention ponds and other areas where Culex mosquitoes breed. The priority is to attack mosquitoes at their source, by treating mosquito larvae before they hatch. This approach is far more effective than spraying to eliminate adult mosquitoes.
For more information, contact the Mosquito Control District at (360) 397-8430 or visit www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/about/mosquito.html.