A little more than a month ago the first human case of the West Nile virus was reported in Tarrant County, about three weeks earlier than the first case last year, health officials say.
Recently, the City of Mansfield had its first positive test for West Nile which means spraying could begin soon according to Stephanie Zavala, public education specialist for the City.
“The City is actively testing for West Nile virus in coordination with the Tarrant County Public Health Department (TCPH) and its testing schedule,” Zavala said. “Traps are set every Tuesday and the specimens are collected and sent to TCPH on Wednesday. Results are then sent to the city on Friday.”
New this year Zavala said is when someone calls to report a mosquito nuisance on their neighbor, the Environmental Services Department now requires an outdoor mosquito inspection at the home of the person who made the report.
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“There are just so many potential breeding hazards, it’s easy for people to overlook what’s going on in their own backyard,” she said.
Standing water can be caused not only by rain but by irrigation systems she said.
“When your system runs, it can fill buckets, toys and bird baths with standing water, Zavala added. “City staff often find breeding activity occurring in those common problem areas during mosquito inspections.”
Howard Redfearn, the city environmental manager, said in response to the positive test in Mansfield, they are conducting a more thorough survey for breeding locations in the area around where the trap location was.
“The staff is monitoring the West Nile situation in surrounding areas around the City to determine next steps in response to this trap, such as spraying,” Redfearn said. “If the city does decide to spray, there will be a post about it Friday on Facebook, Twitter and via the city online newsletter.”
Environmental services strongly advise residents to take precautions to protect themselves using the 4Ds.
▪ Dusk to Dawn: Avoiding going outdoors during this high mosquito activity period.
▪ Drain standing water.
▪ Dress in light colored clothes.
▪ DEET containing insect repellent is the most effective against mosquitoes.
The symptoms for West Nile virus include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Severe cases can develop into West Nile encephalitis and West Nile meningitis, which can result in death.
The Environmental Services Department is asking residents to use this backyard checklist to do their own mosquito investigation around their home before reporting a neighbor. If you want more information about mosquito control, contact Howard Redfearn, environmental at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Tarrant County Public Health website at www.tarrantcounty.com and click on public health or the city website, www.mansfieldtexas.gov/mosquito-control.
Unclog gutters; Drain flowerpot dishes; Apply mosquito dunks, bits and briquettes to drains; Dump plastic wading pools; Dispose of unused tires or drill holes in them; Turn wheelbarrows upside down; Dump containers in yards; Fill tree holes with sand or cement; Check for leaky faucets or pipes; Replace water inn birdbaths and animal dishes daily; Place mosquito eating fish in ponds; Check screens in windows and doors for tears; Keep vegetation trim to prevent adult resting.
Tarrant County Public Health
▪ Did you know a soda can filled with water is big enough to be a breeding ground for 20 mosquitoes.