West Nile threat persists despite first freeze - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

West Nile threat persists despite first freeze

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Lubbock experienced its first freeze earlier than expected this year, and that's bad news for local mosquito populations.

"There's no warmth anymore to support the mosquitoes," said Texas Tech Health and Sciences Center professor Ronald Warner.

"Many of them will be killed when we have one or two very hard freezes. That will be the end of any mosquitoes being active."

Until those hard freezes occur he warns that mosquitoes will still be out and carry the threat of West Nile virus. Ronald says that people still need to adhere to the four D's of West Nile defense. Deet: apply products such as off before you go outside. Dress: wear long sleeve clothes and pants to avoid being bitten. Dusk and Dawn: avoid going outside during these times and Drain: make sure all standing water is dumped out so mosquitoes have no place to breed.

Even with some mosquitoes still active Warner welcomes the cold weather.

"Well I think it's a wonderful signal that West Nile is finished. West Nile activity is pretty much finished for this time of the year. I would say the freeze we had Monday is not a hard freeze so some of those mosquitoes survived."

City of Lubbock Vector Control is also welcoming the cold weather, but cautions we're not out of the woods yet.   

"We'll still have some mosquitoes hatching probably as we get into some warmer days. Temperature will fluctuate up and down but I think we're probably past the worst," said Vector Control Coordinator Glenn Heinrich.

He said Lubbock has two types of mosquitoes that survive through the winters and can carry the West Nile virus, but the chance of getting the disease from them is very low.

"They can carry and they have been known to contract the West Nile cases in parts of the US. We're not quite sure how many there have been in Texas though, so people shouldn't be worried."

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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