The West will be conducting targeted aerial mosquito control spraying with a twin engine airplane after sunset on Sunday, Aug. 9, weather permitting.
The application may be scheduled for the following day if the weather causes a cancellation. A total of 5,000 acres are to be targeted in areas north and east of Hermiston that have high populations of vector mosquitoes. The target areas include the Diagonal Road area north of Walls Road to the Highway 730 junction, and the Power City area. No areas within city limits are currently scheduled for aerial spraying.
West Nile is primarily a bird disease, and some birds, including magpies, blue jays and crows are especially susceptible. Mosquitoes become infected by feeding on an infected bird and can pass the virus to humans, horses or other hosts when they bite. The public is encouraged to continue to alert district officials when they come across dead birds, so the district can track the spread of the virus.
The risk of West Nile is low but people are encouraged to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Most people who become infected with West Nile Virus do not become ill. Some may develop mild flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, and occasionally swollen lymph glands or a rash. In rare cases West Nile may cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. Individuals with severe or unusual headaches should seek medical care as soon as possible. Residents of the district should remain vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquitoes and the diseases that they can carry.
Here are some suggestions to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile virus:
- Vaccinate horses for West Nile virus
- Wear repellents while outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when in mosquito-infested areas
- Use mosquito repellents containing DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, Picaridin or 2-undecanone, making sure to follow the label directions on the container
- Use EPA registered residual insect sprays on horses making sure to follow the label directions on the container
- Make sure all screen doors and windows are in good repair and fit tightly
- Eliminate all sources of standing water which act as a breeding ground for biting mosquitoes. This includes flooded fields, birdbaths, unused wading pools and swimming pools, clogged gutters and old tires. If it holds water for 7 days, it can produce mosquitoes
- Stock mosquito fish in water troughs and ornamental ponds. They are available for free at the district office
Because horses are also at risk for West Nile virus, health officials encourage horse owners to check with their veterinarians for vaccination. Veterinarians can arrange for testing of samples from horses suspected of infection with West Nile virus.
For more information on West Nile Virus, go to the Oregon Health Authority web page.