County detects West Nile virus in mosquitoes

Published 11:39 am Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jefferson County has declared its first case of West Nile Virus in a batch of mosquitoes tested from a location in Beaumont.
Kevin Sexton, director of Jefferson County Mosquito Control, told The News Tuesday that no cases of human West Nile have been detected, but the presence of the virus in mosquitoes should serve as warning to take precautions — especially for those people with compromised immune systems.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.
To reduce the chance of becoming infected use insect repellent and wear protective clothing to prevent mosquito bites.
The CDC also suggests taking steps to eliminate standing waters at one’s home because the Culex Mosquito which carries the virus breeds in stagnant water.
Most people with West Nile will have no symptoms. About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever with other symptoms.
Less than 1 percent of those infected develop a serious, sometimes, fatal, neurologic illness.
The CDC suggest:
• Use insect repellents when outdoors. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol products provide longer-lasting protection. To optimize safety and effectiveness, repellents should be used according to the label instructions.
• When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent will give extra protection. Don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing.
•  Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes outside. Use your air conditioning, if you have it.
• Help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home by emptying standing water from flowerpots, gutters, buckets, pool covers, pet water dishes, discarded tires, and birdbaths on a regular basis.

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