At the peak of the season, Mosquito Control sometimes finds 30-40 infected mosquitoes in one day. That number dropped to less than 10 per day late this week, a sign to Harris County Mosquito Control Director Dr. Rudy Bueno that things might be slowing down.
“Just based on the past years, 10 or 11 years that we’ve had West Nile Virus here, September is the month where we start to see a decline and so we’re hoping that same pattern is going to follow.”
So far in Harris County, there have been 7 confirmed human cases of West Nile disease. The City of Houston tallies its numbers separately and has recorded 24 human cases and three deaths. Typically, about 15-percent of tested mosquitoes come back positive.
“It’s important, even though it might be 1% or 5% or 10%, it’s still important that people are aware. You know, 1% or 1000 or of 10,000, it’s still enough mosquitoes flying out there that are flying out there that are infected and so people just have to take the proper precautions.”
Residents who see dead birds that show no signs of trauma, in particular blue jays and crows, are encouraged to contact mosquito control and use a Ziplock bag turned inside out to collect the bird within a day of its death.
“Put the bird in the bag. It’s really important to get as much information as far the location, the date, things like that. That’s really important, so if people can do those things, then it’s a pretty safe method.”
Birds carry the virus and pass it on to mosquitoes who then bite humans and spread the disease. The bird drop-off locationscan be found here. It’s important to note that West Nile is still relatively hard to get. Only 1 in 150 people are infected and those who are infected often don’t even know it.