The Garland Health Department has improved our mosquito surveillance program by using sentinel or “fixed” sites for our mosquito traps instead of changing locations weekly based on complaints. This change is a result of the CDC study that was conducted after the 2012 West Nile Virus outbreak in North Texas. The CDC recommends that only stationary sites be used in order to have accurate weekly data of mosquito activity in the community. In addition to this change, we are increasing surveillance by trapping 27 separate sentinel sites per week, up from 15 sites in previous years.
The Garland Health Department asks all citizens to eliminate any standing water on their property, such as birdbaths (clean them twice per week), pet water dishes, clogged rain gutters, tire piles, and buckets. Containers that can hold an inch or two of water can breed mosquitoes. Report any standing water that you are not able to eliminate yourself to the GHD. Also report any dead blue jays or crows found in your neighborhood. These dead birds are good signs of virus activity and indicate where mosquito control efforts need to be concentrated. If you have questions or would like to report dead birds or standing water, please call the Garland Health Department Mosquito Hotline at (972) 205-3720.
To properly dispose of dead birds on your property, simply turn a plastic trash bag inside out, grab the bird with the inverted bag, and turn the bag right-side out. Tie the bag and place it in your green trash container for disposal. Please wash hands with soap and warm water after handling any dead animal (not for prevention of WNV, but to protect against bird mites or bacteria).
The GHD controls mosquitoes in three ways: Environmental Health Specialists (EHSs) require property owners who possess breeding sites (containers of water or standing water) to remove the breeding sources. EHSs also treat standing water (a control method called larviciding) with agents which kill immature mosquitoes (the larvae or "wigglers"). To reduce adult mosquito populations, the GHD sprays a low-toxicity pesticide from a truck-mounted, low volume sprayer (a control method called adulticiding).
The GHD has analyzed technical and toxicological data on essentially all known, currently available EPA-approved mosquito adulticides. The only pesticides the GHD uses for spraying are those which contain man-made derivatives of pyrethrins (e.g resmethrin or permethrin). These formulations, when mixed and sprayed according to label directions, are considered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be safe with respect to adults, children, and pets.
·GHD strongly urges Garland residents to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
·Limit outdoor activity near dawn and dusk.
·When outdoors during peak mosquito activity, consider wearing long pants and long sleeve, loose-fitting shirts.
·Treat exposed skin with a repellent that contains the active ingredient DEET. Always use repellents and insecticides according to label directions, and avoid getting repellent into the eyes.
·Ensure that window screens fit tightly and are in good condition.
·Eliminate any containers in your yard that can hold water (e.g. tires, cans, flower pots holding free-standing water, clogged rain gutters).
·Report to the Health Department any properties that contain neglected swimming pools or that contain stagnant water bodies.
Arboviral illnesses like West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis generally appear in people from June through November. Anyone who experiences symptoms consistent with WNV should see a physician as soon as possible.
The incubation period for WNV (the period between being bitten my an infected mosquito and showing the first symptoms) varies from three days to 15 days.
As with most viral infections, there is no specific treatment for West Nile virus infection. Hospital treatment is supportive.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has extensive information on West Nile virus and other diseases at www.cdc.gov.