DOH prepares for busy mosquito season

Allen County Board of Commissioners Seal

News release from the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health:

DOH prepares for busy mosquito season

Residents should be ready for more mosquitoes in the coming weeks as a result of the wet weather this spring and the warmer temperatures on the way.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health is gearing up for another active mosquito season.

Crews from the Vector Control division are out treating known breeding sites with larvacide and stocking ponds with small aggressive top feeding guppies known as mosquitofish to control the larvae population. Later this summer, these same crews will start trapping and testing adult mosquitoes for arboviral diseases such as West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Symptoms of these diseases usually begin three to 15 days after being bitten. Fever, body aches, headache, neck pain and fatigue are the most common symptoms, but in severe cases, there is the possibility of seizure, coma and even death.

“Mosquitoes only need about one-fourth inch of water to lay their eggs and with all the wet weather lately there is no shortage of places to breed,” says Dave Fiess, Director of Vector Control and Environmental Services. “As the temperatures start to rise, we will begin to see more adult mosquitoes.”

The Culex mosquito, which is the primary carrier of West Nile virus and a possible carrier of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, thrives in hot, dry climates, while nuisance mosquitoes are more common during high temperatures and significant humidity. LaCrosse encephalitis, another mosquito-borne disease, most often strikes children and teenagers and is spread by mosquitoes which generally bite during the day.

Residents can do their part to stop mosquito breeding by properly maintaining swimming pools, cleaning out clogged gutters and eliminating other sources of standing water such as buckets and old tires.

The department also recommends residents wear loose-fitting pants and long-sleeve shirts and use insect repellent when spending time outside.

Mosquitofish are available free to put in ornamental ponds and bird baths. Residents can pick them up Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-Noon and 1-4:30 p.m. from the Vector Control and Environmental Services office, 2242 Carroll Road.

Please call 260.449.7459 to ensure a good supply is on hand.

 

About Mosquito Prevention

To reduce the chances of being bitten, residents should:

[list type=”black”]
[li]Use insect repellents containing picaridin or DEET as an active ingredient on clothing and exposed skin[/li]
[li]Eliminate standing water in flower pots, bird baths, gutters and around the house[/li]
[li]Turn over plastic wading pools and other containers when not in use[/li]
[li]Make sure window and door screens are in good condition[/li]
[li]Wear long, loose-fitting clothing, preferably in light colors[/li]
[/list]

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