Friday, May 10, 2013
Lewisville begins ground spraying for mosquitoes
Officials do not anticipate a need for aerial spraying at this point.
LEWISVILLE City officials are awaiting the results of additional mosquito testing after a positive West Nile virus result was found recently.
"We've put traps out again, but we haven't seen the results yet," said James Kunke, community relations and tourism director. "We started testing earlier this year because of how overwhelming last year was. We began testing around the first of April. We knew we would get a positive result because of the mild winter, so we've moved to stage three."
Stage three calls for ground spraying, more frequent testing and placing larvicide tablets in city-controlled places that can breed mosquitoes, such as ponds and rivers. Larvicide treatments kill mosquito eggs and larva. Spraying was done Tuesday and Wednesday after 10 p.m. Spraying lasted most of the night.
On April 30, two trap locations were set overnight -- one in the 800 block of College Street and the other in the 1700 block of South Edmonds Lane, behind Renaissance Village Retirement Center. The traps captured mosquitoes that tested positive for the presence of West Nile virus. Immediate follow-up traps did not capture enough mosquitoes for accurate testing, so the city reset the traps.
"We have about five to six places where we regularly rotate testing because they are known as high-problem areas," Kunke said.
Kunke said there are ways residents can help prevent the spread of West Nile virus. The city is providing two larvicide tablets per house for residents. The tablets should be placed in backyard ponds or any other place where water gathers.
"Residents should check rain gutters for any clogs because they can gather water. Also check water catching trays for plants," Kunke said. "The city has posted a video on our website that shows examples of where to look for standing water."
Tablets are available to residents at the customer service desk at city hall.
Another haven for mosquito breeding is untreated swimming pools. Kunke said residents should be diligent about keeping pools clean.
West Nile virus is a potentially serious virus transmitted by mosquitoes that, when contracted by humans, affects the central nervous system. While the large majority of people exposed to West Nile virus never contract the disease, those who do can suffer very serious symptoms that in extreme cases can result in hospitalization or even death. The elderly, the very young, and persons with underlying health conditions affecting their immune system can be more susceptible. West Nile virus is a blood-borne disease and is not spread through casual contact. More than 30 people in Lewisville came down with West Nile virus last year. Public health officials declared 2012 the worst season ever for West Nile virus in North Texas, and there is concern that 2013 could be comparable. In 2012, the city opted in for the aerial spraying after ground spraying didn't eradicate the mosquito population.
"Right now, spraying is only ground," Kunke said. "At this point, we don't anticipate the need to explore aerial spraying."
There are precautions people can take to protect themselves and their families from the disease. Information also is available from the Denton County Health Department and Texas Department of Health at telephone hotlines.
Lewisville officials have developed a program of public education, mosquito monitoring, and disease response intended to reduce the impact of West Nile virus on local residents and reduce the chance of widespread infection. City crews are regularly walking through and visually inspecting creeks and drainage channels to look for potential mosquito breeding sites. The city has nearly a dozen workers in the parks and animal services divisions who are state-certified to apply anti-larval dunks or localized pesticide to curb the mosquito population.
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