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Mosquito Trapping Reveals Continued West Nile Virus Risk

Post Date:08/11/2017 2:25 PM
Recent testing from Iowa State University and the University Hygienic Lab indicate that mosquitoes from traps at area parks have tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV). While there is a lag time between collecting the samples and the testing, the results suggest mosquitoes with the potential to carry WNV are likely still present in the community.
 
“Historically, we are moving into the peak season of WNV transmission, so preventative measures such as spraying, larvicide, and removal of standing water in the area can reduce mosquito populations. Indications of these mosquitoes are not anything new, but these test results provide an opportunity to remind people to take precaution when they are outdoors,” said Dr. Ryan C. Smith, ISU Department of Entomology.
 
Avoiding mosquito bites is the best way of limiting the risk of transmission of mosquito-transmitted illness. Mosquitoes thrive in the warm, wet weather of summer in Iowa and can carry several diseases. However, there are several ways to avoid and get rid of mosquitoes.
 
“The most effective way to eliminate mosquitoes is to remove standing water in residential areas where even a small amount of standing water from flower pots, buckets, or barrels can be enough for a mosquito to lay eggs,” Smith said. “When spending time outdoors or enjoying a summer evening on the patio, it’s important to take precautions to prevent bites. Wearing mosquito repellent or long-sleeved shirts and long pants can be used as preventive measures, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes that transmit WNV are most active.”
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, eight of 10 people infected with the WNV will have no symptoms. Approximately one in five people infected will develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and rash. Most people will recover completely from WNV, but may experience several weeks of fatigue. About one in 150 people infected will develop a severe illness.
 
The City of Ames Parks and Recreation Department uses a multi-step program for mosquito control. The first step is surveillance through trapping and testing mosquitoes at several locations in Ames. The next steps include regularly scheduled larvaciding to kill mosquitoes before they hatch and regular fogging to kill flying insects. The City of Ames partners with the Iowa State University Department of Entomology in administering the mosquito control program. In response to the recent mosquito test results, additional fogging will take place at locations that have tested positive.
 
“We are continuing and supplementing our weekly park schedule for mosquito control,” said Keith Abraham, Ames Parks and Recreation Director. “The chemical we use for mosquito fogging has been tested and registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) multiple times and is one of the safest chemicals for people and the environment, but one of the most effective at controlling mosquitoes.”
 
Parks are fogged between 8 and 10:30 p.m., weather permitting (no rain or winds over 10 miles per hour):
Mondays: Country Gables Park, Ames Dog Park, and Hunziker Youth Sports Complex
Tuesdays: Homewood Golf Course, Inis Grove Park, Brookside Park, and River Valley Park
Wednesdays: Bandshell Park, Moore Memorial Park, Emma McCarthy Lee Park, and Daley Park
In the event of inclement weather, the makeup dates for all parks is weekday mornings from 6 to 8 a.m. and Thursday evenings from 8 to 10:30 p.m.
 
The Ames Parks and Recreation Department manages 36 parks and offers approximately 150 athletic, aquatic, instructional and wellness programs. Indoor programs are offered year round at the Community Center, Ames/ISU Ice Arena, and Municipal Pool. For more information, go to the Parks and Recreation homepage at www.amesparkrec.org or call the Community Center at 515.239.5350.
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