Wichita Falls-County Health District Prepping for West Nile

As the days get longer and hotter, many residents around Wichita Falls will begin to notice the return of pesky mosquitoes.

According to the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District, the mosquito season runs from April through September.

Susan Morris, Environmental Health Administrator for the health district, says Wichita County has over 40 species of mosquitoes but not all of them carry West Nile.

Morris says the department is continually running a mosquito control program to reduce the threat year round.

"A lot of mosquitoes laid their eggs last year and those eggs are still there just waiting to hatch, waiting for the warm weather," Morris says. "When the weather is nice and people are out, the mosquitoes also will be out."

Also, Morris says the threat of West Nile goes up when water becomes stagnant.    

"We had more septic water because of the drought," Morris says. "That's the type of water that those mosquitoes are drawn to. If you don't have the rain to wash that septic water away, then you're going to have more of those types of mosquitoes."

However, the health district is trying to stop the disease before it starts causing problems in Texoma. 

Morris says the district has standard operating procedures where they'll spray when they locate a mosquito that's capable of carrying west nile; not just when they find the disease.

"We're more proactive and we do a comprehensive integrated pest management program not just the spraying but we do the education and the treatment and the prevention," Morris exclaims.

Morris says they can only do so much to prevent the spread of the disease.

She says, "We're on top of things just like we are every year but it's up to the citizens of our county as well to do their part."

In addition, Morris says everyone can begin by doing their part by protecting themselves.
She says easiest way to do so is by remembering the Four D's;

Dress in long sleeves and long pants
Stay indoors during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Use a mosquito repellent with Deet 
Make sure to dump and drain any standing water

For more information of, you can contact the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District at 940.761.7800.    

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