Virginia Beach Reports Increase in Positive West Nile Virus Samples

Thursday, September 04, 2014
While Labor Day marks an unofficial end of summer for some, mosquito season in Virginia Beach continues to thrive.
The Virginia Beach Public Works Mosquito Control Biology Lab has detected 22 mosquito samples that are positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) which is very high at this point in the season.  They have also detected 12 positive mosquito and sentinel chicken samples for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) which is also very high.
Normal numbers for one entire mosquito season are 7 for WNV and 5 for EEE.
Dreda Symonds with the Mosquito Control Biology lab attributes much of the increase to the recent hotter temperatures.  “We’ve had a fairly mild summer in terms of temperature, so I think the recent spike in temperatures has caused a lot of this increase.”
Mosquito Control’s night ULV crews have increased night time spraying by 20%, concentrating in the areas of increased positives.  They have also increased their day time spraying of breeding sites.
While summer may be over in the minds of many people, said Symonds, “we are coming up to the height of mosquito season.  This increased activity will most likely continue for another 6-8 weeks.”
Most WNV mosquitos are most active after dark, so anyone who plans on being out for any length of time in the evening should be sure and use mosquito repellent.    Other tips to follow are:
  • Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing.
  • Use insect repellent products with no more than 50% DEET for adults and less than 30% for children.
  • Follow label instructions when using insect repellents.

Residents can also help by eliminating mosquito breeding areas on their property:

  • Turn over or remove containers in your yard where rainwater collects, such as potted plant trays, buckets, or toys.
  • Empty bird baths once a week.
  • Remove old tires from your yard.
  • Clean roof gutters and downspout screens.
  • Eliminate standing water on flat roofs, boats, and tarps.
  • Clear obstructions in ditches so they flow and drain.  Fill in puddles with soil, or a mixture of sand and gravel , or dig drainage ditches to drain puddles.
  • If puddles or ditches cannot be drained or filled in, treat standing water with mosquito larvicides (dunks or granules) that can be purchased at any hardware store.

Although WNV can lead to severe illness in humans, less than 1% of those infected develop serious neurological problems.  Property owners at the trapping sites have been contacted and advised, and lab officials will continue to consult with the other mosquito control districts throughout the Hampton Roads region.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have answers to many questions on their website at:  http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/

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