How to keep pesky mosquitoes out of your garden, tips for staying safe – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Mosquitoes are in North Texas and they bring disease with them.
Cities in northern Texas have detected the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.
The counties of Dallas and Tarrant have reported pools of mosquitoes, as has the town of Frisco. Health experts expect an increase in human infections.
“We can absolutely see an epidemic, a growing number of cases, especially when people are outside as we are now,” said UNT Health Science Center associate professor and epidemiologist Dr Diana Cervantes.
West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne illness in the continental United States.
It is most often transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.
There are no vaccines to prevent or drugs to treat WNV in humans.
Fortunately, most people with WNV don’t feel sick. About one in five infected people develop a fever and other symptoms similar to the symptoms of COVID-19.
“It would include fever, body aches. You will sometimes see a rash, but you won’t see upper respiratory symptoms. You won’t see a cough or anything like that,” Cervantes said.
About one in 150 infected people develop serious, sometimes fatal illness.
The other mosquito-borne diseases that have affected northern Texas are Chikungunya and Zika.
The most common symptoms of Chikungunya infection are fever and joint pain.
In late 2013, the chikungunya virus was first found in the Americas on Caribbean islands.
Travelers can protect themselves by avoiding mosquito bites. When traveling to countries infected with the chikungunya virus, use insect repellant, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay in areas with air conditioning or screens for windows and doors.
Zika is a virus that is transmitted by the bite of certain types of mosquitoes.
If infected during pregnancy, a mother can pass Zika to her unborn child.
Zika infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects and developmental delays. Zika virus can also be transmitted through sex and blood transfusions.
Although it can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and red or pink eyes, about 80% of people with Zika have no symptoms.
Currently, there is no vaccine or specific treatment against Zika.
Your best protection is to avoid infection. Prevent mosquito breeding, protect yourself from mosquito bites and practice safe sex.
Did you know that mosquitoes can breed in as little as a tablespoon of water?
Prevent mosquitoes from breeding on your property by taking these steps:
At least once a week, empty or remove garbage cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers and other containers with water.
Keep gutters free of debris and standing water.
Eliminate standing water around structures and flat roofs.
Change the water in animal dishes daily.
Rinse and scrub vases and other interior water containers weekly.
Change the water in wading pools and bird baths several times a week.
Use mosquito repellent dunks with larvicide for water that cannot be emptied or covered.
Keep backyard pools and spas properly chlorinated and free of debris.
Cover the garbage cans.
Water lawns and gardens carefully so that the water does not remain for several days.
Sieve rain barrels and openings of water tanks or cisterns.
Treat front and back doors of houses with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are abundant nearby.
If mosquito problems persist, consider applying pesticides to vegetation around the house.