West Nile Virus is a potentially serious virus transmitted by mosquitoes that, when contracted by humans, affects the central nervous system.
While the large majority of people exposed to West Nile Virus never contract the disease, those who do can suffer very serious symptoms that in extreme cases can result in hospitalization or even death. The elderly, the very young and persons with underlying health conditions affecting their immune system can be more susceptible. WNV is a blood-borne disease and is not spread through casual contact.
There are simple precautions people can take to protect themselves and their families from the disease. Many of those steps are described below. Additional information also is available from the Denton County Health Department and Texas Department of Health websites.
- Try to stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes tend to be most active.
- Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors, weather permitting.
- Use repellent containing the active ingredient deet when going into areas where mosquitoes might be active.
- Drain standing water from such sources as tires, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, cans, buckets and ground depressions. These are prime mosquito breeding areas.
West Nile Virus is spread by mosquitoes. Officials say the mosquito population often is enhanced by standing water and other conditions easily controlled by residents. The American Mosquito Control Association recommends the following steps to curb the mosquito population and reduce the chances of West Nile infection:
- Destroy or dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water.
- Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots, cemetery urns or in pet dishes for more than two days.
- Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures or on flat roofs.
- Repair leaks around faucets and air conditioner units.
- Change water in birdbaths and wading pools at least once a week.
- Stock ornamental pools with top feeding predacious minnows.
- Fill or drain puddles, ditches and swampy areas, and either remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar. These areas may also be treated with Bti or methoprene products.
- Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools and septic tanks.
- Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs. Flush livestock water troughs twice a week.
- Check for trapped water in plastic or canvas tarps used to cover boats, pools, etc. Arrange the tarp to drain the water.
- Check around construction sites or do-it-yourself improvements to ensure that proper back filling and grading prevent drainage problems.
- Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.
- If ditches do not flow and contain stagnant water for one week or longer, they can produce large numbers of mosquitoes.
For more information, visit the West Nile Virus page on cityoflewisville.com. Residents also are encouraged to report standing water on city-maintained property by calling Lewisville Animal Control at 972-219-3478 or submitting an online report using the Customer Support System.