The West Umatilla Mosquito Control District will be conducting targeted aerial mosquito control spraying with a twin engine airplane after sunset on Sunday, July 29 weather permitting.
The application will be scheduled for the following day if the weather causes a cancellation. A total of 10,240 acres are to be targeted in areas east of Hermiston that have high populations of vector mosquitoes. The target area includes the Diagonal Road area between Townsend Road and the Highway 730 Junction, and portions of the Loop Road area. No areas within city limits are currently scheduled for aerial spraying.
The district is now up to four confirmed positive samples in 2018. Initial detection was on June 19 and two additional positives were collected and sent in last Thursday to the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Corvallis for confirmation. All positive samples have been collected near the Cold Springs Reservoir.
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. There is a vaccine available to prevent West Nile virus disease in horses, contact your veterinarian for more information.
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, such as West Nile virus.
Here are some suggestions to reduce the risk of exposure to West Nile:
- Get rid of old tires and other containers where water can accumulate and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Flush or replace the water in horse troughs weekly.
- Be sure to flush or add mosquito fish to ornamental ponds.
- Avoid outdoor activities 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, Picaridin , Oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535 and make sure to follow the directions on the container.
- Screen doors and windows.
- Report mosquito infestations and dead bird sightings to the West Umatilla Mosquito Control District (541) 567-5201
Because horses are also at risk for West Nile, and can become severely ill, health officials encourage horse owners to check with their veterinarians for vaccination. Veterinarians can test suspected horses with West Nile at Oregon State University.