Environmentalists provide ways to protect yourself against West Nile Virus

Friday, June 27, 2014 - 10:59am

So far this year, there have been no reported cases of West Nile Virus. Local environmentalists hope to keep it that way.

This week is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, and officials want you to do your part in stepping up to help limit the mosquito population.

"It's actually everyone's responsibility to look and remove standing water," said David Litke, Environmental Health Program Administrator for the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.

During the past week, we've received more than five inches of rain in Waco, which is enough to provide the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"After a rain, mosquitoes don't magically appear. It's the next week because that water has to sit there and become stagnant. Then, the mosquito has to lay the eggs. The eggs have to develop," said Litke.

All it takes is a little standing water and ten to 14 days, then you would be responsible for the breeding of hundreds of mosquitoes.

"They're very prolific. They like to lay a couple hundred eggs each time," said Litke.

Environmentalists want to limit the mosquito population, largely for health reasons.

"Mosquitoes do carry disease. So, that's our focus is to reduce the mosquito population so there's less chance of disease being spread by the mosquitoes," said Litke.

Central Texas is home to 26 of the 85 species of mosquitoes in Texas. Of those 26, two species are prominent for carrying the West Nile Virus.

"They are the most abundant and most prolific of the mosquito species that we have," said Litke.

Because it's hard to identify which species has West Nile or not, officials say it's best to stay away from all mosquitoes. Remember the four "D"s: drain, dress, dusk, and deet. Drain water, dress appropriately, take precaution if outside during dusk or dawn, and use insect repellant with deet. To learn more about how to protect yourself against mosquitoes, visit: www.waco-texas.com.


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