Gregg County officials do not worry about the West Nile Virus mosquito until now because no pool has been tested positive for the virus yet.
According to Shawn Hara, city spokesman, authorities and health officials keep following the safety guidelines to prevent the WNV from spreading in Longview and the city is safe so far. Scientists from Commerce trapped and sent mosquitoes to the Texas Department of State Health Services to make sure that the insects were not carrying the disease.
On the other hand, Hunt County city had two samples tested positive for the WNV over the last two weeks. Based on the statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 252 WNV cases were reported in 2015, and 11 Texans died because of the disease.
Also, some 2,060 cases were identified throughout the United States and 119 people died. The most efficient way to tackle this disease is by spraying pesticide in the contaminated areas. But this measure has a severe consequence on the environment, and it is considered a last resort.
People who are sensitive to chemicals might develop allergies, whereas important pollinators such as bees may die in large numbers if they are exposed to the spraying, meaning that beekeepers would have a hard time in the future.
There are other prevention methods which are considered safer. Residents should wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved pants and shirts. Also, they should avoid spending time outside at dusk and dawn when the disease-carrying mosquitoes are most active.
People should buy an excellent mosquito repellent and follow the instructions on the label. Health officials strongly recommend people to check around their houses and workplaces for sources of standing water because it represents the ideal breeding environment.
According to Charlie Smiths, White Oak City Coordinator, authorities will not resort to spraying, and they will not send mosquitoes to Austin for WNV testing. Hara also underlined that they would not rely on spraying because it did not represent a standard practice for them.
Instead, they will make sure to reduce the source of standing water, and they will use pesticides only where mosquitoes might breed to avoid affecting other insects, especially pollinators. West Nile Virus is a mild illness which leads to more acute symptoms in 20 percent of the cases.
People might experience headaches, muscle aches, fever, and fatigue. About one percent of the infected people develop a devastating form of WNV, known as neuroinvasive disease, a malady which attacks the brain.
People are also advised to check their skin for mosquito bites and do their best to avoid getting bitten.
Image Source:Health Map