Following results from mosquitoes captured around Four Mile Run Park by the Arlintgon Health Department that tested positive for the West Nile Virus, the Alexandria Health Department environmental health division sent out staff members to canvas and talk to residents of the Arlandria and Parkfairfax neighborhoods last Monday. The staff members went door to door talking to residents and leaving information packets to add in curbing the number of mosquito breeding sites in the neighborhood.
Standing water left behind by the remnants of Tropical Depression Ernesto and warm late-summer temperatures are creating ideal conditions for mosquito breeding throughout the region the Department of Health said.
The department’s Vector-Borne Illness Prevention Program is asking the public to enlist in the fight to control mosquitoes and eliminate the threat of West Nile Virus by removing all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding around their homes and property.
West Nile virus (WNv) is a potentially serious illness that affects the central nervous system. It is spread by the bite of a mosquito that has become infected by feeding on infected birds. Less than 1 percent of people who get bitten and become infected will get severely ill. Symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and swollen lymph glands. Individuals above age 50 and those with immune compromised systems are at higher risk to get sick and develop serious symptoms, which can last up to several weeks. Neurological effects may be permanent and in some cases can cause death.
Tips to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas in your neighborhood:
v Clean rain gutters so water can flow freely.
v Remove old tires and drill drainage holes in tires used for playground equipment.
v Store plastic wading pools, flowers pots and other plastic containers inside or turn them upside down when not in use.
v Dispose of all empty beverage containers, plastic wrappers, discarded toys, etc.
v Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, etc.
v Pump out bilges in boats. Turn canoes and small boats upside down for storage.
v Replace water in bird baths at least twice a week.
v Remove pet food and water dishes that are not being used.
v Do not leave garbage can lids and recycle bins lying upside down and make sure water does not collect in the bottom and along the edges of cans and bins.
v Flush water in the bottom of plant holders twice a week.
v Turn wheelbarrows upside down when stored outside.
v Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper backfilling and grading prevent drainage problems.