The Richardson Health Department reports its latest round of West Nile virus testing has returned negative results for all mosquito traps located in the city. Due to these new findings, no further ground spraying operations are currently being planned.
The Richardson Health Department schedules mosquito spraying based on positive findings of West Nile virus in mosquito traps placed around the city or if a human case is confirmed. Once located, the area around the positive finding is targeted for spraying in an attempt to help limit the spread of the disease.
In an effort to decrease the incidence of West Nile virus infection, targeted neighborhoods are being sprayed twice as part of enhancements to the City’s comprehensive mosquito management plan implemented in early 2013 to help deter the spread of the disease. This week the Health Department was able to conduct one ground spraying operation, but the second was cancelled due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Spraying is only a measure to help limit exposure, and health workers urge people to maintain vigilance in protecting themselves when going outside.
Spraying Is One Part Of The Protection Plan
Spraying to control the population of mosquitoes and the spread of the West Nile virus is a last resort, and is part of a comprehensive plan the Richardson Health Department follows to control the mosquito population. Other activities include: continuous monitoring of mosquito test pool results, implementation of a residential pool abatement program to reduce areas where mosquitoes can breed, surveillance and treatment of storm drains, use of larvicide and mosquito eating fish along creeks and other stagnant bodies of water to prevent mosquito eggs from developing into adults, monitoring and notification in neighborhoods where potential mosquito breeding areas are discovered, closer collaboration with regional health departments, and public education efforts through mass communications channels.
When Spraying Occurs
Richardson schedules spraying events during overnight hours to limit exposure to people who may wish to avoid contact with the pesticide used to control mosquito populations. Spraying events begin at 9 p.m. and will end by 4 a.m. In order to minimize human exposure, the Health Department typically does not schedule spraying events on Friday or Saturday; however, an increase in findings of West Nile virus may cause the Richardson Health Department to spray on weekends as needed.
(Map of Richardson mosquito testing sites.)
How To Protect Yourself
To protect from mosquito bites, people are asked to follow the Four D’s of protection:
- DRAIN standing water around the home,
- Use insect repellent containing DEET,
- Avoid being outdoors at DUSK and DAWN when mosquitoes are most active,
- And DRESS to protect yourself with long sleeves and pants to reduce skin exposure.
More On The West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus is transmitted by a bite from an infected mosquito that's already carrying the virus, but not all mosquitoes are capable of carrying or transmitting the disease. In North Texas, the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito is greatest from July to October. Not everyone who gets bitten by an infected mosquito will get the virus, and it's rare for people to become very sick if they do develop symptoms from the disease.
Symptoms of West Nile virus vary depending upon the person who becomes infected. People who do develop symptoms usually suffer from mild "flu-like" illness. Rarely, symptoms may require medical care or hospitalization. The people who are most susceptible to the disease are the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.