Local News 8
Local News 8
"I don't know if we want to say it's something to be scared about, but it's something to definitely be concerned about. Because it's something you have to be aware of, and you have to take some steps yourself to prevent yourself from picking it up," Southeast Idaho Health Department epidemiologist Jeff Doerr said.
Bannock County mosquito abatement crews are already out in the field, trying to treat as many potential mosquito habitats as they can. But they have their work cut out for them, it seems like there's standing water just about everywhere.
"We're planning on for a whole lot more mosquitoes this year. We just have so much water and we're finding larvae in areas that we never found it before," Bannock County mosquito abatement supervisor David Herter said. Crews want the public's help in keeping mosquito numbers down. "If you can drain your water, drain it. If not, call us, let us come out and help you," Herter said.
Larvae are swimming around in flooded pastures and stagnant pools, and it won't be long before they're buzzing through the air. "As soon as we get a couple of these nice warm days that are in the forecast this next week or two, we're going to see a lot of adults starting to pop up," Herter said. Some of these mosquitoes will be carrying West Nile virus. The disease has the potential to invade the brain, causing paralysis, seizures, brain swelling, even death.
But that's the worst-case scenario. Most people who get infected won't ever know. "If you do get bit by one that is infected, 80 percent of the population is not going to even know that they've had it," Doerr said. Simple precautions like wearing long sleeves and pants and avoiding being out at dawn or sunset should help.
"So just some preventative stuff, insect repellent, Deet, stuff like that is a good way to prevent your case of picking up West Nile," Doerr said. The Health Department said a mosquito bite is the only way to get West Nile virus, so if you avoid getting bitten you can't get the disease.
Abatement crews will begin fogging to kill mature mosquitoes in the next week.