DECATUR, Ga. –They are back with a vengeance and an appetite that leaves its tell-tale mark. With recent rains, mosquitoes are out and reproducing in a location near you with standing water. The good news is that the DeKalb County Board of Health’s summer mosquito surveillance team is already at work.
To monitor for diseases that mosquitoes can transmit to humans, the Board of Health recently deployed mosquito traps throughout the county. Although the traps are in areas with little foot traffic, someone coming upon one can easily identify it by its red and white sign.
Once mosquitos are collected by a trap, they are examined under a microscope and sorted by species and gender. Appropriate mosquitoes are then tested for specific viruses. The main virus of concern in the Atlanta area is West Nile virus.
In DeKalb County last year, there were 25 West Nile virus-positive mosquito collections from 22 sites and one case of human infection.
In addition to trapping and testing mosquitoes, technicians work with residents to eliminate them. Measures include placing larvicide in areas with standing water, like inside storm drains. This keeps young mosquitoes from becoming flying, biting adults.
As mosquito season ramps up, the Board of Health reminds residents to take the following precautions over Independence Day holiday and throughout the summer and fall:
- Reduce mosquito breeding in your yard by eliminating standing water in gutters and items such as planters, toys, wheelbarrows and old tires.
- Discourage mosquitoes from resting in your yard by trimming tall grass, weeds and vines.
- Make sure window and door screens fit tightly to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
- Reduce your outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk, when the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus are most active.
- Use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535. Apply according to label instructions.
- Spray clothing with products containing permethrin according to label instructions.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk and in areas with large numbers of mosquitoes.
For more information about West Nile virus, contact the DeKalb County Board of Health’s Environmental Health division at (404) 508-7900 or visit https://www.dekalbhealth.net/envhealth/west-nile-virus/.