Important info on what you can to do help stop the spread of West Nile and Zika Viruses
KATY MAGAZINE l October, 2017 Katrina Katsarelis
Katy area residents have reported an increase in mosquitoes across flooded and non-flooded neighborhoods in the area as many streets still have water and damp debris fills curbside's in subdivisions.
In mid-September, Air Force cargo planes flew across neighborhoods in Katy in zip codes 77493, 77494, 77449 and 77450 in an effort to prevent the growth of mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus and Zika.
About West Nile virus in Texas In 2016, Texas had 370 cases of West Nile virus and so far in 2017, there have been 36 cases. Harris County has seen cases of West Nile in humans this year, and the virus had been detected in local mosquitoes prior to Hurricane Harvey. Texas has also had 22 Zika cases in 2017, although local transmission was only detected in Brownsville Texas.According to research published by the World Health Organization, in Emerging Infectious Diseases, infectious disease deaths like Zika and West Nile after natural disasters are highly uncommon. The research indicates illness risks are highest in populations of people who are displaced. "If people are crowded in shelters with insufficient sanitation, that could create the conditions for disease to spread."
Controlling mosquitoes after a flood - what you need to know
Remove standing water where mosquitoes could lay eggs
Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out any items that hold water like tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs near water.
Tightly cover water storage containers (buckets, cisterns, rain barrels) so that mosquitoes cannot get inside to lay eggs.
For containers without lids, use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
Use larvicides to treat large containers of water that will not be used for drinking and cannot be covered or dumped out.
If you have a septic tank, repair cracks or gaps. Cover open vent or plumbing pipes. Use wire mesh with holes smaller than an adult mosquito.
Kill mosquitoes outside your home
Use an outdoor insect spray made to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest
Mosquitoes rest in dark, humid areas like under patio furniture, or under the carport or garage. When using insecticides, always follow label instructions.
Mosquitoes after hurricanes - what you need to know
Mosquito eggs laid in the soil by floodwater mosquitoes during previous floods hatch. This results in very large populations of floodwater mosquitoes. Most of these mosquitoes are considered nuisance mosquitoes.
Large numbers of nuisance mosquitoes can affect recovery efforts. For this reason, local or state mosquito control experts will often take steps to control these mosquitoes.
Because people spend more time outside cleaning up after a hurricane or flood, they are more likely to be bitten by nuisance mosquitoes.
In general, nuisance mosquitoes do not spread viruses that make people sick. The types of mosquitoes that can spread viruses may increase 2 weeks to 2 months after a hurricane, especially in areas that did not flood but received more rainfall than usual.
Although flooding caused by hurricanes can be severe and an increase in mosquito populations is expected in the coming weeks, CDC does not expect to see an increase in the number of people getting sick from diseases spread by mosquitoes, but will work closely with state and local health officials to monitor the situation.
How to protect yourself and family
Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. EPA’s search tool here
Always follow the product label instructions.