Viruses detected in mosquitoes

Published 9:39 pm Thursday, July 23, 2015

Two serious but fortunately rare diseases have been detected in mosquitoes in Suffolk.

West Nile Virus was found in a mosquito pool in the Kilby Shores area, according to a city press release. Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus has been detected in mosquito pools and a sentinel chicken flock from several neighborhoods, including Clay Hill, Kilby Shores, Hosier Road, Olde Mill Creek, Regency Estates, Rivercliff, Dayle Acres, Pughsville and Riverfront.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus rarely affects humans — only five or 10 cases a year in the United States — but can cause death or brain damage in those infected. No human cases have ever been reported in Suffolk, but horses are commonly found in the city with the virus. Fortunately, properly timed and administered vaccines by a licensed veterinarian can keep horses healthy during mosquito season.

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The species of mosquito — Culiseta melanura — that was found with Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus rarely bites humans, according to the press release. However, citizens should still be aware of the activity and take the necessary actions to protect themselves and their animals.

Mosquito Control is intensifying its efforts in the areas where positive tests have occurred, according to the press release. Increased mosquito surveillance, treatment of standing water and evening spray applications for adult mosquitoes are being administered.

Residents can protect themselves from excessive mosquito bites — annoying even if not disease-carrying — by remaining indoors from one hour before dusk to one hour before dawn, wearing loose, long and light-colored clothing when outdoors, and using insect repellants containing DEET.

Citizens can also help eliminate mosquito breeding areas by following these steps:

4Empty water-holding containers — buckets, drums, bottles, tin cans, wheelbarrows, potted plant trays, and so on.

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, including ditches and low-lying areas.

Mosquito Dunks are available to Suffolk residents at all city fire stations and libraries, the Mosquito Control office, the Media and Community Relations office in City Hall and East Suffolk and Whaleyville recreation centers.

To receive Mosquito Dunks, adults should bring a picture ID and proof of residency to the location and sign an information sheet. Mosquito Dunks kill larvae as they develop in stagnant water.

For more information about Mosquito Control, contact Charles Abadam, superintendent of Suffolk Mosquito Control, at or 514-7609.