Health department readies for mosquito season

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Press release from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department:

Health department readies for mosquito season

(May 5, 2010) – The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is preparing for the start of mosquito season and asking residents to do the same in order to control the spread of West Nile virus and other diseases.

Vector Control crews will soon be out treating bodies of water with larvicide and trapping adult mosquitoes around the county, testing samples weekly for West Nile virus. Unlike previous years, the department will not be able to inspect and treat bodies of water that breed only nuisance mosquitoes. The health department will target its resources on treating standing water that breed disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Only when adult mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus does the department spray, and then only a ½-mile radius around the site of the trap. The department will be using AquaAnvil, a new water-based adulticide, for its mosquito control efforts in 2010.

The department also recommends residents do their part by wearing pants and long-sleeve shirts and using repellent when mosquitoes are biting. Also, residents are encouraged to empty flower pots and buckets, clean out gutters, replace water in birdbaths, maintain swimming pools, and remove tires and other sources of standing water on their property.

Once again, the health department is providing mosquito-eating fish to the public for free. The fish can be picked up at the Vector Control & Environmental Services office at 2242 Carroll Road, from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays. These top-feeding minnows are a popular way to reduce mosquito larvae in ornamental ponds or backyard garden pools but should not be released into rivers, creeks, lakes or other natural waterways where Indiana game fish may be present

While there hasn’t been a confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Allen County in the last two years, it doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be vigilant.

“A lot of people think of mosquitoes as just an annoying pest with an irritating bite,” says Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County Health Commissioner. “But mosquitoes can spread serious illnesses and people need to protect themselves. If you are going to be outdoors, wear insect repellent. I can’t stress that enough.”

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