Tarrant County conducted a ground spraying Monday, Aug. 26, for mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus to counteract possible insect infestation.
David Jefferson, environmental health manager for the County Health Department, said the group has sprayed in the unincorporated areas. This means the CHD may make a recommendation to spray, but it is up to the Fort Worth city government for additional spraying. The county in the unincorporated areas has sprayed at least a dozen times. Jefferson said the County Health Department has a surveillance program.
“We have about 219 traps around the county in different locations,” Jefferson said. “All our partner cities have a number of traps that they operate and bring in to us. When we get in the weekly trap samples, we do a count of the mosquitoes that are in there; we look at the type of mosquitoes, and then in the case of culex mosquitoes (which are the ones that typically transfer the West Nile virus) we send some of those down to the (state of Texas) lab and get them tested to see if they’re carrying the virus.”
If there is an increase of numbers in infected mosquitoes, the Tarrant County Health Department would tell that city that the CHD needs to look in the neighborhood to find breeding samples to eliminate. If there is no way to eliminate the breeding source, there would be a recommendation to consider spraying.
Based on recent lab results, there have been some cities that have had positive results in affected mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus. Cities with positive results are Grapevine, Pantego, Grand Prairie, most of Dallas and a fragment of Fort Worth in the White Settlement area, among others. Most of the positive results were in the Grapevine area. A possibility of the high outcomes could have been from Lake Grapevine where mosquitoes nest in large numbers. However, it is a very small percentage of the mosquitoes that are affected.
Texas Wesleyan’s nurse Paige Cook suggests ways to avoid getting infected are by looking for properties where mosquitoes may breed or lay for 5-7 days and find ways to drain water. To avoid the virus, it is best to dress appropriately and cover up during dusk and dawn hours, wearing repellent such as DEET (diethyl toluamide), using citric candles, and even stuffing bounce sheets in pockets or socks. In general, Cook is not too worried about Texas Wesleyan’s college population due to students’ active youth and strong immune systems. Those of the older population group with weaker immune systems more often become infected.
“Ways to keep your immune system strong are to have a good balanced diet, eat regularly and healthy, and to have a regular sleep cycle,” Cook said.
David Owen, senior general business major, said he prevents himself from catching the West Nile virus by using OFF! spray before he goes out and supports the city doing ground spraying.
“I don’t mind them using the insecticides,” Owen said. “Let them spray. I fully believe we have too many areas that would tend to be just stagnant water where mosquitoes would breed.”