Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile

Published 9:06 pm Monday, September 22, 2008

Suffolk is warning residents in the city to try to stay clear of mosquitoes this fall, because three areas of the city have had mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in the past month.

Mosquito collections in the Lake Kennedy, Lloyd Street and North Street areas have tested positive for the virus. West Nile is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause mild flu-like symptoms up to severe illness and, in rare cases mainly involving the elderly, death. However, anyone can become ill from West Nile Virus, and everyone can help control the mosquito population.

Charles Abadam, the superintendent of Suffolk Mosquito Control, said that this is not the first year WNV-positive mosquitoes have been found in Suffolk. Lake Kennedy often has them, he said, because it is so close to the Great Dismal Swamp.

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“Lake Kennedy butts up directly to the swamp,” he said. “There’s basically a constant supply of water running through the area.”

Abadam said the incidence of WNV in Suffolk actually has decreased from past years, but people still should take heed of warnings.

“Senior citizens should definitely be aware and try to protect themselves,” he said.

Mosquito Control has increased their surveillance, especially in the positive areas, by treating standing water and spraying in the evening to kill adult mosquitoes.

Abadam recommended protecting yourself from excessive mosquito bites by following these recommendations:

4Remain indoors during times of greatest mosquito activity (one hour before dusk to one hour before dawn)

4Wear loose, long, and light-colored clothing when outdoors

4Use insect repellants containing DEET according to the label instructions.

People can contribute to lowering the mosquito population by eliminating breeding areas around their home and neighborhood. They can do this by:

4Empty water-holding containers like buckets, drums, bottles, tin cans, wheel barrows, potted plant trays, etc.

4Properly dispose of used tires.

4Clear roof gutters, downspouts and corrugated black drainpipes for any water collection.

4Clean wading and swimming pools

4Drain water from tarps

4Place Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around your home which include ditches and low lying areas. Placing Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water habitats is a common practice used to eliminate mosquito larvae. Free Mosquito Dunks are available to Suffolk citizens at your local fire station. In order to get your free Mosquito Dunks you must be 18 years of age or older, have proof of residence in the city of Suffolk, proper picture identification and sign an information sheet at the fire station.