By CRISTIN REECE
From the annoying whining drone in your ear, the itchy bumps from its bite, all the way to the diseases it might be carrying – absolutely nothing about the mosquito is lovable.
And the city of Palestine has declared war on the flying pests.
“Recently, we had a confirmed case of the West Nile Virus in our community,” Director of Development Services Jeffrey Lyons stated in a written missive provided to the Herald Press. “In response to this, the city’s Code Enforcement Division has begun increasing efforts in identifying areas that promote mosquito breeding and actively spraying in those areas.”
In an effort to reduce the mosquito population in the community, the city is currently spraying around public parks, nursing homes and apartment complexes.
“We are also working closely with the city's Emergency Management Coordinator to insure that we are doing everything possible to reduce this potential health hazard,” Lyons said in his statement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus (WNV) is a virus most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. There are currently no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection.
“Fortunately, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms,” the CDC website states. “Less than 1 percent of infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, neurologic illness. Most people (70 to 80 percent) who become infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms.”
The CDC also reports one in five people who are infected could develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.
It was first detected in North America in 1999, and has since spread across the continental United States and Canada. Cases have also been documented in Europe and the Middle East, Africa, India, parts of Asia and Australia.
In addition, residents can do a few things to help aid in population control measures and defend against bites.
• If possible, stay indoors at dusk through dawn as this is the time of day when mosquitoes are most active.
• Check screens around windows and doors to ensure mosquitoes cannot enter inside.
• Dress in long sleeves/pants, loose and light-colored clothing when outdoors.
• Use insect repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, or oil of eucalyptus when outside, especially around dusk and dawn. Follow the label instructions.
• Drain any standing water around the house. Check all rain gutters to ensure water is not trapped and can flow freely onto the ground. Empty all flower pots, water dishes and any other device that can hold water. Water in bird baths should be changed every three to four days. Standing water has a potential to breed mosquitoes.
• Keep yards and other grassy areas mowed. Tall grass also invites mosquito breeding.
Residents can also report trouble spots, such as swimming pools that are not being maintained, to Code Enforcement officers by emailing this information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 903-731-8417 or 903-731-8495.