Batch of mosquitoes tests positive for West Nile in Beaumont

Batch of mosquitoes tests positive for West Nile in Beaumont

A batch of mosquitoes that Jefferson County Mosquito Control District (JCMD) sent for testing in Austin has returned positive for the West Nile Virus, reports JCMD Director Kevin Sexton.

The batch was collected at the corner South 11th Street and Corley Street in Beaumont. Sexton said JCMD sent the batch to Austin on Aug. 19 and received the results back as positive for West Nile Wednesday, Aug. 27.

This is the first batch of mosquitoes that have returned positive results for West Nile in 2014, Sexton said.

JCMD is dispatching larvaciders, workers who specifically target mosquito larvae, to the area and sprayed the area both aerially and from the ground Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Sexton said that Southeast Texans themselves should implement protective measures when going outside.

“People should be a little more vigilant and take a little more precaution, especially when they go out,” said Sexton.

Sexton suggested Southeast Texans, especially the elderly and children, use a good DEET repellant and wear long sleeves and long pants. He also suggested that if citizens don’t use air conditioning, to make sure their screens don’t have holes in them, make sure there is no standing water in their yards, flush out their bird baths, and rinse out their dog dishes, replacing the water every four days.

“It takes about five days, roughly, for a mosquito to go through its cycle and for the adults to come out,” Sexton said. “If people keep areas like bird baths and pet dishes flushed out, mosquitoes won’t breed in them.”

The most susceptible to West Nile, according to Sexton, are children and the elderly.

 “Generally they have a weaker immune system,” he said. “Also, if anyone has any type of illness that has already weakened their immune system, I would really recommend all these people to stay indoors (during the evening) if they can. But if they have to get out, wear long sleeves, long pants and a good repellent.”

Sexton said the mosquitoes that carry West Nile come out at dusk and are not out during the day.

“During the daytime, if people get bit they should be OK because it is not by these particular mosquitoes,” he said. “This is a specific mosquito (the genus Culex) that carries the virus. It’s kind of like a little vampire because it rests during the day. The mosquito has to bite an infected bird first and then bite a human with a weakened immune system for the virus to take its course. A lot of people may have been bit by this type of mosquito and never have even shown a symptom of West Nile because (they) have already built up an immunity to it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of West Nile include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness and paralysis, and approximately 1 in 150 persons will develop a severe form of the disease.“It’s really hard to contract West Nile,” Sexton said.

August has been a busy month for JCMD, as it just recently reported results of a positive pool for Saint Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) in the Port Arthur area Aug. 5 at Normandy Avenue and 32nd Street next to Jefferson City Shopping Center.