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Crews try to curb West Nile virus in Canyon County

Posted at 5:19 PM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 19:19:23-04

Canyon County Mosquito Abatement teams continue to battle the growing threat of West Nile virus, and crews say the triple-digit temperatures this week aren't helping, as more mosquitoes in the area are testing positive for West Nile. 

The mosquito battle begins just after sunrise for abatement crews. Collecting dozens of traps baited with lights and carbon dioxide, the traps are then placed in coolers to freeze the mosquitoes for West Nile testing. 

"the thing is, we're getting our numbers down and that's the most important thing because that's really the key -- is to get the mosquito numbers down to reduce that rate of infection," said Ed Burnett, Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District Director.

With almost one dozen surveillance traps testing positive for West Nile virus in Canyon County, crews say their work is of utmost importance.

"[West Nile] can disrupt your entire body," said Julie Monroe, adulticide operations supervisor for the Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District. "And not just for the moment, but even in the future because people do get relapse fever...but it can even be deadly."

If a test comes back positive, crews will inspect the affected area, treat it, and test it again. In a two-week span alone, abatement crews used 32,000 pounds of larvicide -- that's more than the entire amount used last year.

But the hot temperatures and receding water from flooding earlier this summer are the perfect environment for these mosquitoes, which means the work is far from over. 

"There are so many people that stop us daily and thank us, saying there's no way they could do these things -- mow their yard in the evening, or move pipe for those farmers that still move pipe," Monroe said. "They couldn't do any of that before the mosquito abatement district without being covered in mosquitoes."

Mosquito abatement will continue throughout Canyon County by ground larvicide crews and larvicide operations by air. 

Officials recommend avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk, and using insect repellant.