Drought Could Trigger More West Nile Cases - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Drought Could Trigger More West Nile Cases

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Texoma hasn't been getting much rain during this drought and that actually could trigger more cases of the west Nile virus.

Susan Morris is the environmental health administrator at the Wichita County Public Health District. She says the sporadic rain we've been getting becomes stagnant if it doesn't dry up quickly. That creates the perfect atmosphere for West Nile mosquitoes to breed in.

"If we have water in the area with the drought, that's the type that we're going to find and so they're more likely to find that type of mosquito than the fresh water mosquitoes," said Morris.

In fact we don't even need rain to have areas of standing water.

Morris says, "That's not necessarily true. Water pipes break, sewer pipes break, people water lawns."

The environmental health administrator says we can no longer prevent the West Nile virus from invading Wichita County. Health district employees collected several mosquitos last year that were carrying the virus they leave behind eggs. But we certainly can prevent having more places for them to breed. Simply clean up rain gutters and items water could accumulate in.

"Use a shovel, use scoops, wear some gloves and scoop the things out and throw them away and let's conserve water and clean up our yards at the same time," said Morris.

Meanwhile the public health district will do their part.

"We know where we have some trouble spots and they check those spots and they treat them if necessary," said Morris. "We eliminate standing water when we can, we educate the public and as a last resort we'll spray for the adult mosquitoes but that's the least effective and most expensive method of control."

Morris says the rest is up to mother nature which has more control over West Nile cases than you think.

"If we have a really windy season then we won't have a lot of mosquitoes because the wind dries up the water, it blows the mosquitoes away. The mosquitoes have to have very still air or they can't hatch. They'll drown trying to hatch," said Morris.

 

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6