PROFESSIONAL OPINION: Mosquitos are starting to bite
As the temperature rises each week, so does the number of mosquitos and the potential for mosquito-borne diseases.
The North Texas region, including the city of Burleson and Johnson County, is no stranger to West Nile Virus. Mosquitos infected with the virus, along with resulting human cases of West Nile, were recorded in Burleson last year.
The first infected mosquitos of this season were detected in DFW this week. (www.dallascounty.org/department/hhs/West NileWatch.html)
West Nile is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who are infected do not have symptoms, but according to the CDC, one in five of those infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headaches and body aches.
Most people who develop these symptoms recover completely; however, less than one percent of those infected develop the more severe form of the disease that causes inflammation of the brain and surrounding tissues (encephalitis or meningitis).
People over the age of 60 and those with certain medical conditions are at the greatest risk for severe West Nile Virus Disease.
There is not a vaccine or antiviral treatment for West Nile. If you experience symptoms of either form of the disease, you should visit your doctor. (www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html)
The city of Burleson performs weekly Mosquito surveillance for West Nile throughout the city. Each week, 14 mosquito traps are collected and sent to be evaluated for infected mosquitos, says David Lenartowicz, environmental health specialist for the city.
If a trap is confirmed to have a mosquito infected with West Nile Virus, that zone is sprayed twice to kill the adult mosquitos to prevent humans from getting the disease.
The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites. This is often remembered by the 4D’s: DEET, Dress, Dusk/Dawn, and Drain.
The CDC recommends using insect repellent when you go outdoors, specifically wearing repellants that contain DEET (http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html), wearing long sleeve clothing to prevent bites, draining standing water, and reporting other areas of standing water to the city.
For those areas that cannot be drained, the city of Burleson provides two free mosquito dunks, a simple round disk that can be tossed in standing water to kill mosquito larvae.
To get your free dunks or to report standing water, call the City of Burleson Environmental Services Division at 817-426-9832.
You may pick up free dunks at the City Service Center located at 725 SE John Jones Road, Burleson, TX 76028.
Contact the city of Burleson – Environmental Services; David Lenartowicz, Environmental Health Specialist.
Phone: (817) 426-9832
Taylor Sexton is an infectious disease epidemiologist and is certified in public health. He grew up in the small-town community of Glen Rose.