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Local mosquitoes test positive for diseases

Suffolk Mosquito Control reported Thursday that mosquitoes in Suffolk have tested positive for West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

These mosquitoes came from the following locations:

  • WNV — North Street and North Jericho
  • EEE — Lake Kennedy, Lamb Avenue area, Suburban Woods, Hosier Road, Sleepy Hole Park and Chuckatuck

Mosquitoes with West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are found in Suffolk every year, but humans in Suffolk have never contracted either disease from these mosquitoes. There’s more good news — according to Suffolk Mosquito Control, mosquitoes cannot transmit COVID-19.

Even so, citizens should be aware that there is increased WNV and EEE activity in these areas noted above, and they should take the necessary actions to protect themselves while outdoors.

WNV infected individuals can show no symptoms, mild symptoms, or severe symptoms. In fact, it’s been reported that 80 percent of people (about four out of five) who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms at all. Up to 20 percent of the people who exhibit mild symptoms of WNV have flu-like symptoms and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. In the most severe of cases (1 of 150) of WNV, individuals will develop severe illness which can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

EEE is a very rare human disease that affects five to 10 humans annually in the United States.  EEE infection in humans begins with mild flu-like symptoms, progresses into disorientation, seizures, coma, encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) and in the most severe cases, individuals die. Many that survive will have mild to severe brain damage, according to the latest statistics.

Horses are commonly found with EEE in Suffolk. Mosquito Control urges horse owners to vaccinate their horses for EEE and any other insect transmitted diseases that could affect their animals.

Suffolk Mosquito Control is working diligently to protect the city by reducing mosquito populations that transmit these diseases and those that pose a nuisance. Operations include but are not limited to routine mosquito trapping, focused sprays for adult mosquitoes, and pesticide applications to eradicate juvenile mosquitoes.

You can avoid the bite of mosquitoes by following these recommendations:

  • Remain indoors during times of greatest mosquito activity — one hour before dusk to one hour before dawn)
  • Wear loose, long, and light-colored clothing when outdoors
  • Use insect repellants containing DEET, picaridan, IR3535, oil of lemon, eucalyptus, Para-menthane-diol, 2-undecanone. Follow the label instructions for correct usage.

You can help eliminate mosquito-breeding sites around your home and neighborhood by following these simple steps:

  • Empty water-holding containers: buckets, drums, bottles, tin cans, wheel barrows, potted plant trays, etc.
  • Properly dispose of used tires.
  • Clear roof gutters, downspouts, and corrugated black drainpipes for any water collection.
  • Clean wading and swimming pools.
  • Drain water from tarps.
  • Place Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around your home, which include ditches and low lying areas.

Free Mosquito Dunks are currently available to Suffolk citizens at Fire Station 6 (300 Kings Fork Road), the East Suffolk Recreation Center (138 S. Sixth St.), and the Whaleyville Recreation Center (132 Robertson St). 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 the Information Sheet. Placing Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water habitats is a common practice used to eliminate mosquito larvae.

For more information about Suffolk Mosquito Control, contact Charles Abadam, superintendent of Suffolk Mosquito Control, at cabadam@suffolkva.us, or call 514-7609.