Spraying Program Underway After Two Mosquito Samples Test Positive for West Nile Virus

Two mosquito samples in Harris County have tested positive for West Nile virus. Evening spraying operations have been activated in teh affected and surrounding areas. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports.

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These are the first positive samples collected from mosquito trapping sites this season. The positive samples were collected from Troy Road at Yale and at Gazin and Larimer, according to Dr. Rudy Bueno with Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services.

"One is located on the loop on the east side, and the other is actually located between the Inner Loop and the Outer Loop on the northwest side. We spray multiple times in that affected area, and we try to do that for about a month, and then we spray the adjacent areas once a week for a month. It doesn't take long for it to get from one side of the county to the other side."

Dr. Bueno says when the spraying program kicks in, results are usually immediate.

"Oh, we see results pretty soon. One spray night will kill 30 or 40 percent of the population."

Mosquito Control still relies on homeowners to help eliminate mosquito breeding sites by removing items with standing water.

"Bottles, cans, you've got bird baths, you've got bird baths, you've got old tires. Getting rid of the water, or at least replacing the water would help to reduce the exposure. People will sweep lawn clippings into the storm drains. The storm drain is really an optimum habitat where mosquitoes like to breed. As a matter of fact, some of our traps that we have are set up in storm drains."

West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis. Mosquitoes acquire the virus from birds and pass it on to other birds, animals and people. Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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