UPDATE: Fourth human case of West Nile Virus confirmed in Southlake
The City of Southlake continues to battle against West Nile Virus (WNV), like many communities across North Texas. Since the season began, the City has recorded four human cases of WNV. Additional testing across the City has also located five areas that tested positive for mosquitoes carrying WNV. The City is coordinating with Tarrant County Public Health (see box for West Nile Virus Hotline information) to ensure an appropriate response to incidences of WNV in Southlake.
Currently, the City is actively engaged in a campaign to deploy larvicide in areas of standing water on public property since the first area tested positive for mosquitoes carrying WNV in late June. Larvicide tackles the problem by interrupting the mosquito life cycle, thus preventing the development of adult mosquitoes. While this prevents mosquito development on public property, it does not address the large number of mosquito breeding grounds on private property.
“The majority of mosquito breeding grounds occur in backyards and around houses on private property across the City,” according to Public Works Director Bob Price. “These areas cannot be treated by the City with larvicide, and due to their remote nature, any efforts to spray insecticide from trucks would not eliminate the problem. Residents need to frequently be changing animal water bowls and bird baths. Potted plant dishes which hold water can be a problem. Also, gutters should be cleaned out. An accumulation of leaves can also be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.”
The City needs your help to combat mosquito breeding on private property. Make sure to eliminate all areas of standing water around your property. If you have large areas of stagnant standing water, such as a lake, treat the area with larvicide briquettes. If residents find pools of stagnant water that have algae or scum growing on the surface, they should be treated with larvicide. Briquettes are available for free at the Public Works Operations Center located at 1950 E. Continental Blvd from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday and at the Southlake Community located at 400 N. White Chapel from 7:30 AM to 12:30 PM Monday through Thursday.
“The briquettes effectively eliminate mosquito larvae,” said Price. “They are especially efficient for landscaping areas where irrigation watering can sometimes pool and become standing water. If residents see water pooling from irrigation, they should consider reducing the duration and/or frequency of their watering schedule to prevent excess accumulation of water. By using the briquettes and making a conscious effort not to over-water, the City has a good defense against West Nile.”
Once you treat your property, make contact with your neighbors to make sure they do the same. The average mosquito will only travel between 100-200 yards to feed, which means that you are at most risk from mosquitoes breeding on your property or the properties surrounding you.
“The City is actively treating public property for mosquitoes. If residents treat areas on their property, we can come together as a community to combat the problem of West Nile Virus,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Kyle Taylor.
In addition to treating your property, make sure you remember use an insect repellent containing DEET when you are outside. In Tarrant County, 73% of those infected with West Nile reported that they never used insect repellent with DEET. Also remember to avoid being outside during dusk and dawn hours, and to dress in long sleeves and pants when possible.
For more information about West Nile Virus, visit www.CityofSouthlake.com/WestNileVirus.