West Nile Virus Hits Lubbock Early this Year - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/22/04

West Nile Virus Hits Lubbock Early this Year

"It's a wet season. We'll have plenty of mosquitos," warns Joe Vargas with City of Lubbock Vector Control. He says more rain could mean mosquitos will be biting earlier this year and in greater numbers. "Usually we spray last of may part of June, this year. I think it'll be quicker around late April first of May."

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Last year, there were 26 reported human cases in Lubbock county, 2 deaths, and in horses, 9 reported cases with 4 deaths. To prevent those numbers from increasing, Vargas and his crew will begin spraying for mosquitos weeks in advance around the city this year and they'll be trapping for mosquito larva in area lakes that have been filling up with rain water for several weeks.

"All this water. We're getting a lot of artificial containers filling up around the city playa lakes, bar ditches and things like that," says Vargas.

So far one bird has tested positive for the virus in Lubbock county this year. An early start to a busy bug season. "It tells us that West Nile is here again and it started earlier so I think we'll have a season that will consist of a lot of West Nile Virus," says Vargas.

We also spoke with the Texas Department of Health and they say the big message this year is prevention. They've found 62% of people do not wear insect repellant when they are outdoors. So this year, remember the four D's.

  • Wear insect repellant containing DEET.
  • Stay indoors at dusk and at dawn.
  • Dress appropriately if you have to be outdoors during these times by wearing long pants or long sleeves.
  • Drain all standing water in your yard to prevent mosquitos from breeding.
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