Mosquitoes test positive for deadly virus

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 9, 2005

Mosquitoes have tested positive for the dreaded Eastern Equine Encephalitis three times this summer near the Great Dismal Swamp and Wildlife Refuge in Chesapeake.

Thus far, Suffolk has

fared much better that its neighbor to the east, said Juan Constantine, the city’s acting mosquito control supervisor.

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&uot;Mosquito numbers in Suffolk are holding relatively low,&uot; he said. &uot;They are a bit higher around the Dismal Swamp but that’s to be expected.

&uot;We have had just one mosquito pool test positive for EEE this season.&uot;

That was on June 21 in the Beamon’s Mill subdivision, off Nansemond Parkway.

The city beefed up spraying and preventative larvaciding in the community, he said.

Both EEE-which is among the deadliest of the mosquito-borne diseases-and the West Nile virus is spread to humans and horses by mosquitoes that have bitten infected birds.

No mosquito has tested positive for West Nile this year.

The city provides traps mosquitoes twice a week in every subdivision within the city’s special mosquito taxing districts, Constantine said. Any time the traps show high numbers of mosquitoes or test positive for disease, the department steps up spraying in tat community.

But usually, the department focuses on less visible-but more effective-preventative efforts.

&uot;We haven’t cut out spraying,&uot; Constantine said. In the past, the city routinely sprayed twice weekly in neighborhoods within mosquito-taxing districts.

&uot;But by focusing on inspection and larvaciding, we try to control the problem before it even arises.&uot;

Suffolk residents can get free mosquito briquettes to drop in standing water, which are breeding grounds for the pesky insects, at the Municipal Building’s front desk.

The briquettes will kill mosquito larvae in standing water within 24 hours, Constantine said.

Citizens can take other precautions against mosquitoes, including eliminating standing water and wearing insect repellent, he said.