Heavy rains create breeding grounds for mosquitoes - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Heavy rains create breeding grounds for mosquitoes

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One person has died from West Nile Virus in Gregg County.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services' web site, one of the two people infected with the West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease in Gregg County has died. The patient was a male (unknown age) and lived in Gregg County, but was in the hospital in Shreveport.

Friday, four new East Texas counties confirmed one human case of West Nile Virus. Those new counties are Smith, Rusk, Panola and Harrison county.

So far this year there have been 14 confirmed cases of West Nile and one confirmed fatality across nine counties in East Texas.

Local public health officials say the heavy rains that hit East Texas on Thursday and Friday might have done us a favor when it comes to controlling the mosquito population.

However, they say now is the most important time to make sure you remove standing water on your property.

"Any little place in your yard or city property or county property that is holding a little bit of water... that's where the mosquitoes will start again," says Brenda Elrod, Environmental Health Director for the North East Texas Public Health District.

But, she says it's not all bad news.

"We get a good heavy rain and it actually flushes out the larva. Those larva need oxygen to survive, so when they're tumbling around in a running stream, they actually suffocate," Elrod says.

While the mosquitoes that were waiting to hatch may now be less of a problem, she says it won't take any time for female mosquitoes to lay more eggs.

"Turn over your pet pans, flush out your bird baths, anything that is holding just a little bit of water is all it takes to provide an environment for them," she adds.

The health district began spraying mosquito pesticide around 3 a.m. Friday, but due to wind and rain, they didn't get very far.

"We can't put out any fog when the weather is bad so we'll have to schedule another night," Elrod says.

She says NET Health will likely resume spraying on Monday or Tuesday.

As of 3:30 p.m. Friday the confirmed human West Nile cases are as follows:

Angelina County - 3 Virus - 1 Fever

Gregg County - 2 Virus (1 resulted in death)

Henderson County - 1 Fever

Lamar County - 2 Fever

Van Zandt County - 1 Fever

Rusk County- 1 Virus

Smith County- 1 Virus

Panola County- 1 Virus

Harrison County- 1 Virus

Doctors say the people at most risk for West Nile are the elderly and those with compromised immune systems and pre-existing conditions.

State health officials say you can "Fight the Bite" with their four D's:

  • Stay indoors at dusk and dawn. These are the times when mosquitos are most active.
  • Dress in long sleeves, pants and loose, light colored clothing when outdoors.
  • Defend yourself by wearing insect repellant containing DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
  • Drain standing water in your yard or neighborhood. Even water in birdbaths and flower pots can attract mosquitos.

[West Nile Fact Sheet (PDF)]

[Protect yourself from West Nile with the 4 D's (PDF)]

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