West Nile in Wichita Falls update

West Nile in Wichita Falls update

WICHITA FALLS, TX - Just over a month, ago the Wichita Falls/Wichita County Public Health District has confirmed that some mosquitoes tested in the area carry the West Nile Virus but there have been no human cases of the disease reported so far in 2016. This is unlike last year when the city saw the first case confirmed in mid-August. While temperatures continue to inch lower in WF/WCPHD Environmental Health Administrator Susan Morris says the threat of West Nile is still just as high. 

"We start going on that downswing around daylight savings time begins or during the first freeze happens toward the end of October," said Morris.

Part of Morris's job is to monitor mosquito populations. That includes setting traps to collect different types of mosquitoes at strategic locations throughout the city. According to Morris the over 40 different species active in Texoma and it's many populations are constantly changing in numbers. 

"We send them off to Austin and Austin grinds them up in batches of 50 and they test them for all the virus's different viruses that mosquitos can carry," said Morris.

After the mosquitoes are ground up Morris and the WFWCPHD are able to know exactly what types of mosquitoes are active in Texoma. Morris was able to show me the numbers from one of the most recent batches sent back from Austin. Of the nearly 800 mosquitoes collected in late July over 700 mosquitoes captured are capable of carrying West Nile. Morris said members of the community can play a big part in helping lower population numbers for the bugs. 

"Lets dump any standing water that we may have or take care of any standing water that we may have in our yards," said Morris. 

Any area that has standing water can be a breeding ground for the bugs. That includes flower pots, gutters, even items inside your home. Morris said one resident recently learned mosquitoes were breeding in an unused spare bedroom toilet that was rarely used. To learn how you can help fight the bite click HERE, HERE, and HERE for various information on mosquitoes provided by the WFWCPHD.

Copyright 2016 KAUZ All rights reserved.