West Nile Virus in Kings Grant, Pembroke and Kempsville as city takes steps to reduce mosquito breed
Virginia Beach Mosquito Control is reporting an increase in West Nile Virus (WNV) mosquito activity in some parts of the city.
Officials have conducted weekly tests throughout the city since June and some of the mosquitoes that have been collected and tested for the virus have tested positive.
The positive results have been found in three areas:
Oxford Drive in the Kings Grant neighborhood.
North Witchduck Road in the Kempsville area.
Constitution Drive in the Pembroke area.
Jennifer Barritt, a biologist VB Mosquito Control biologist, said that the samples were collected on June 25, also known as "epi-week 26," and that these three areas are areas that have historically had WNV positives.
"The primary vector of WNV in our region is Cx. pipiens/restuans, which breeds in water with a higher organic content," said city publicist, Drew Lankford. "Larvaciding efforts by Mosquito Control will focus on stagnant water where mosquitoes may be breeding, such as ditches, stormwater catch basins, standing water in horse pastures and other areas. Night-time spraying efforts are being increased and drainage maintenance crews are clearing clogged ditches and pulling debris from drainage pipes to keep water moving and reduce the number of breeding sites."
Residents are urged to dump any containers that may catch and hold rainwater, since these can be prime breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Barritt emphasizes that anyone working outside, especially from dusk-to-dawn, wear insect repellent.
"The forecast is for very nice evening temperatures also, which means that more people may be outside later and more apt to be exposed to mosquito bites," said Lankford.
West Nile Virus is an uncommon viral disease that is spread to birds, humans and other mammals through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It can be deadly.
Most people infected with WNV have no symptoms, but some have mild flu-like symptoms and a small number develop more serious neurological disorders, said Lankford.
Those over the age of 50 or with immune system disorders are at greater risk of serious illness, he said.
Courtesy photo of a mosquito on human skin.
The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health advises residents and visitors to take necessary precautions to avoid mosquitoes:
Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
Use insect repellent products registered with the EPA. No more than 50 percent DEET for adults and less than 30 percent DEET for children.
Use care when applying repellents to children.
Follow all label instructions.
Turn over or remove containers in your yard where rainwater collects, such as plant trays, buckets and toys.
Clean birdbaths and wading pools weekly.
Check window and door screens so that mosquitoes cannot enter the home.
"The city's biology lab will continue to monitor and test mosquitoes, and will release additional information if WNV activity continues to increase and spread to other areas," said Lankford.