Thursday, June 24, 2021

Fight the Bite: How to Help Prevent West Nile Virus

Summer is peak mosquito season. Bug bites can be a pain, but even more concerning is the potential for contracting a serious virus spread by infected mosquitoes, like West Nile Virus.

It’s important to both recognize the symptoms of the virus and know what to do to protect yourself and your yard.

Know the symptoms

According to Tarrant County Public Health, up to 80 percent of people infected with West Nile Virus do not develop symptoms. The roughly 20 percent of infected people who develop symptoms may suffer from a fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile Virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. Less than one percent of infected people develop severe symptoms of a headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis as the result of inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues. If you suspect you have contracted West Nile Virus, contact your health care provider.

The good news is that positive tests for Tarrant County have been fairly low this year. So far this season, Tarrant County has only had 31 positive mosquito samples for the season, or April through July, compared to the 2017 season with 48 positive samples. You can help keep the numbers low this year by taking precautions.

Protect yourself

The Office of Emergency Management has an effective Vector Control, mosquito testing, program in place. The weekly tests monitor and reduce the risk of mosquito-transmitted diseases. If there is a positive West Nile test in Southlake, the City uses effective methods to control the threat by using EPA-approved pesticides on public property.

There are steps that you can take to protect your own property from mosquitos.

Make your yard an undesirable environment for mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes need water to breed, dispose of any standing water on your property. If water cannot be dumped or drained, use a larvicide to kill immature mosquitoes before they become adults. Larvicides, which are typically sold as tablets or granules, are applied directly to water sources that hold mosquito eggs or larvae and can help to reduce the mosquito population by limiting the number of new mosquitoes that are produced.

If adult mosquitoes are airborne on your property, liquid adulticides can be dispensed as fine aerosol droplets from hand-held sprayers. Adulticides stay aloft and kill flying mosquitoes on contact, immediately impacting the number of adult mosquitoes in an area.

In addition to reducing the mosquito population in your surroundings, wear long sleeves and pants to limit mosquito bites or use DEET-based insect repellents when outdoors.

For additional educational information about mosquitoes or to learn more about the City’s response to mosquitoes, visit the Office of Emergency Management’s webpage or call them at 817-748-8903.

Fight the Bite: Remember the 4-Ds for your defense against mosquitoes

The weather outside is getting warmer as we get closer to summer. Warm weather means lots of sun…and mosquitoes! As you spend more and more time having fun in the sun, don’t forget about the 4-Ds.

Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood to get rid of mosquito breeding sites like flower pots, drains, pop-up and clogged rain gutters. Take a look around your home for some of these common mosquito sources. If you find standing water, you can use mosquito dunks. They’re found in most large retail stores and are quick and easy to install.

Dusk & Dawn are the when mosquitoes are most active, try and stay indoors during those times.

Dress in long sleeves and pants when you’re outside. Be sure to spray thin clothes with repellent.

DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is what you should look for in your insect repellent, check for 10-30 percent.

We’re here to help – if you notice a large amount of mosquitoes we can help identify their source and make recommendations to reduce the mosquitoes you are seeing. Contact us at cupton@ci.southlake.tx.us.

If you have unanswered questions about West Nile or the Zika virus, please contact Tarrant County Public Health at 817-248-6299 to help.

City to Spray After Four Positive West Nile Virus Samples

The City of Southlake has received notice from Tarrant County Public Health that four mosquito traps in Southlake have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

The positive samples are located in the 100 block of Meadowlark Lane, the 2200 block of Shady Oaks Drive, 800 block of Shady Lane, and the 700 block of Ashleigh Lane.

The City will respond with targeted spraying for three consecutive nights within a half-mile radius of each of the positive trap locations. Spraying will start on Thursday night, September 15 and continue through Saturday night, September 18, weather permitting.

Please remember to continue taking personal protective measures including:

  • Drain standing water in artificial containers; this is the primary source of mosquitoes
  • Dress in long sleeves
  • Wear insect repellent containing DEET

For more information about the West Nile Virus, personal protective measures, or response actions, please visit CityofSouthlake.com or MySouthlakeNews.com. And as always, if you have any mosquito concerns, please reach out to our environmental coordinator at cupton@ci.southlake.tx.us.

100-block-of-meadowlark-lane-spray-zone 2200-block-of-shady-oaks-drive-spray-zone mosquito-site-1 mosquito-site-2

 

Zika and West Nile – What You Should Know

Zika

Texas has had 90 reported cases of Zika virus disease. This count includes three pregnant women, one infant infected before birth, and one person who had sexual contact with a traveler. Of these cases, 40 have occurred in the metro area of Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton counties. Additionally, for the first time ever, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel warning for a community in America. The community is in northern Miami and highlights the possibility that a Zika outbreak can occur in any community.

West Nile Virus

The number of mosquito traps testing positive for the West Nile Virus remains high throughout Tarrant County. The map to the right shows the high presence of WNV in the various mosquito traps throughout the region with 236 traps testing positive so far this year. Just this week, the third human case of WNV in Denton County was reported in Trophy Club. WNV is part of our environment, but we do not usually see this level of activity this early in the summer. This is the highest amount of WNV in the environment since 2012.ZikaWNVMap

As we move into August, not only will it be extremely hot, this is also the time of year when Southlake will see the highest amounts of mosquitos in the environment. While the City of Southlake is doing everything it can to help control the mosquito population, we must emphasize that our success is dependent upon our partnership with the Southlake community. Please remember to Fight the Bite:

  • Apply EPA-approved insect repellent.
  • Wear pants and long-sleeve shirts that cover exposed skin.
  • In warmer weather, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers exposed skin.
  • Use screens or close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Remove standing water in and around your home. This includes water in cans, toys, tires, plant saucers, and any container that can hold water.
  • Cover trash cans or containers where water can collect.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

Remember that these tips not only help control the mosquito that spreads Zika, but these same preparedness measures also affect the mosquito that spreads West Nile Virus. For more information about our mosquito response efforts, please visit CityofSouthlake.com.

UPDATE: Mosquito Sample Tests Positive for WNV – Ground Spraying to take place 9/12

UPDATE September 12, 2013: Spraying will begin at approximately 9:00p.m. and continue for several hours. Residents in the affected area are encouraged to take the proper precautions listed below during this time. For frequently asked questions about ground spraying, click here.

The City of Southlake has been notified that a mosquito sample has tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The sample was taken from a trap at 700 Greymoor Place which is located south of Rockenbaugh Elementary School. The City has made the decision to ground spray, using Permanonea, in a ½ mile radius  around where the sample was found (see map below).  Ground spraying will take place Thursday night (9/12) in accordance with the City’s West Nile Virus Action Plan.

“While this is Southlake’s first positive test this year, we feel that it’s important to take action quickly to help eliminate future positive tests,” said Public Works Director Bob Price. “In the meantime, people who live in the area are encouraged to protect themselves and their families, by using bug spray every time you go outdoors and staying indoors during the dusk and dawn hours.”

During spraying people are encouraged to follow these precautions:

  • Avoid being outside during spraying; close windows and keep pets inside.
  • If skin or clothes are exposed, wash them with soap and water.
  • Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as a general precautionary measure.
  • Cover small ornamental fish ponds.
  • Because the chemical breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, no special precautions are suggested for outdoor swimming areas.

Once spraying is complete, city staff will continue to inspect and if needed treat public property for mosquitoes. Mosquito samples will also continue to be taken in specified locations and then will be sent to Tarrant County for testing. Southlake residents are encouraged to remain vigilant on private property to help reduce the mosquito population.

Price reminds everyone to Fight the Bite. Anything that can hold water for just a few days can become a mosquito breeding ground. Be sure to check your property for standing water. In addition to checking small containers, house gutters and French drains, staff encourages you to check for areas such as your water meter box, any tree holes, blocked irrigation heads, gutter drains and other underground pipes, pool overflow pipes, storm drains for the presence of standing water. Finally, don’t forget to use insect repellent whenever you are outside where mosquitoes may be present.

For more information on what Southlake is doing in the area of mosquito surveillance and control, please see CityofSouthlake.com/WestNileVirus.

 

Fight the Bite and the West Nile Virus

Although it’s been a cool spring, mosquitoes are already making their presence known in Southlake.  Traps that have been set by City of Southlake staff have yielded dozens of mosquitoes, but only test results will tell if the mosquitoes carry the West Nile Virus.

“After last summer’s unprecedented outbreak, the City reached out to the health departments of both Tarrant and Denton counties so we could prepare for this summer’s West Nile Virus season,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Kyle Taylor.  “We have also developed a tiered response that is based upon the amount of mosquitoes that we are finding in our traps, the results of West Nile Virus testing and any confirmed human cases of the disease.”

Last summer, Texas was at the epicenter of the worst West Nile Virus outbreak in years.  Southlake saw eight confirmed cases of West Nile Virus.  This summer the City is encouraging residents to take personal responsibility to Fight the Bite.

“What many people don’t know is that backyards are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes,” said Environmental Coordinator Christi Upton.  “Any area that holds little more than a teaspoon of undisturbed water for a couple of days can become a breeding ground for the type of mosquitoes most responsible for spreading this virus.”

Upton urges residents to get rid of these mosquito hot zones and get rid of standing water where you can.  Close containers, empty what you can’t frequently, or treat areas you can not drain with a larvacide.  She added that the City is checking and testing public property areas of standing water, treating with a larvacide and placing briquettes when appropriate.

The City is making biological mosquito larvicide available to residents for private property use.  These briquettes treat standing water by releasing a larvicide that kills larvae for a period of 30 days.  The briquettes are available at the following locations Public Works Operations, 1950 E. Continental Boulevard Monday – Friday, 7:30 am to 4:30 pm.

The City has created a website page www.CityofSouthlake.com/FightTheBite to aid residents and businesses.  It answers frequently asked questions and details the City’s Action Plan for the summer.

“The website also provides a way for people to report a mosquito problem if they see it, said Taylor.”  “Just fill out the “Mosquito Problem” form and the City will follow up on your request.”