It's that time of year again. The first human case of West Nile virus infection in the U.S. in 2004 was reported in New Mexico on May 4. The West Nile virus outbreak in 2003 killed 264 people.
But according to NewScientist.com, Indiana Secretary of Health Patricia Montoya said "the virus is one of the few diseases where people can take a few simple precautions... and be protected."
The infection is carried by mosquitoes so reducing the number of mosquitoes in an area reduces the risk to that population.
The Clay County Health Department is assisting with a three part series to refresh residents on how to protect themselves and their farm animals from the potentially dangerous virus. They will inform the public on how to best reduce mosquito populations, how to prevent mosquitoes from biting and how to prevent West Nile Encephalitis in horses and on farms.
Here are 10 simple steps you can take to help reduce the number of mosquitoes at your home.
- Dispose of, or empty any water holding containers on your property like buckets or flowerpots.
- Pay special attention to discarded tires that may have collected on your property.
- Drill holes in the bottom of garbage containers that are left outdoors to let water drain out.
- Clean clogged roof gutters. Remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of rainwater.
- Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
- Do not allow water to stagnate in birdbaths. Aerate ornamental ponds or stock them with fish.
- Keep swimming pools clean and properly chlorinated. Remove standing water from pool covers.
- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.
- Repair failed or discharging septic systems; preferred breeding areas contaminated by manure and septic.
- Remove tall weeds and grass.
If these steps are followed, you will be able to keep your mosquito population down. The number one thing to always remember is to prevent standing water from accumulating for more than four days.
Tomorrow: How to prevent or reduce mosquito bites.