West Nile Virus found in Canyon County mosquitoes

Posted at 2:53 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 16:53:24-04

CANYON COUNTY — Mosquitoes collected on July 14 northeast of Caldwell have been found to have West Nile Virus, thanks to a new technique.

“These mosquitoes were trapped using a gravid trap, a technique brought to Canyon County by our new District Entomologist Chris Ocegueda,” said Jim Lunders, Director Canyon County Mosquito Abatement District.

The gravid trap uses alfalfa and yeast infused to water to attract female mosquitoes, looking for a place to lay eggs. Because the mosquitoes already have a blood meal, there is a higher chance of them testing positive than other trapping methods.

The abatement district also added BG Sentinentel Traps to the Districts trapping program to augment the 120 dry ice baited EVS Traps. The EVS Traps are routinely placed throughout Canyon County. To date, the district has tested 374 pools this season for West Nile.

“Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not become sick. Some may develop mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally swollen lymph glands or rash,” said Jaime Aanensen, Environmental and Community Health Services Division Administrator for Southwest District Health. “Individuals with severe or unusual headaches should seek medical care as soon as possible.”

The area where the mosquitoes were collected has been treated for both larval and adult stage mosquitoes. Staff will increase surveillance and control measures within the district in response to the increased public health threat, according to a press release from the abatement district.

“With the increased risk of West Nile virus we encourage people to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Lunders.

He offered the following suggestions to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can be a breeding ground for biting mosquitoes such as flooded fields, watering troughs, birdbaths, wading pools, clogged gutters and old tires. If it holds water for seven days, it can produce mosquitoes
  • Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in mosquito-infested areas
  • Use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, IR3535 or Picaridin while making sure to follow the directions on the container
  • Make sure all screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly