Public health officials are concerned about widespread West Nile Virus activity throughout the area and are urging residents of all ages to take the necessary steps to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes.
The West Umatilla Mosquito Control District is reporting that West Nile Virus has been detected in at least 25 mosquito samples this year. The Oregon State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab reported on Tuesday that 11 additional samples from mosquitoes collected last week have tested positive. The samples were from the Cold Springs Reservoir, Stanfield, Umatilla, and in the Spearman Road area. The West Umatilla Mosquito Control District reported that the virus was initially detected in the Cold Springs area on June 19, but has recently spread throughout the district.
In response to increased West Nile Virus activity, the district will be conducting targeted aerial mosquito control spraying with a twin engine airplane after sunset on Sunday, Aug. 26, 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 The target area includes the Diagonal Road area between Townsend Road and the Highway 730 Junction, and portions of the Loop Road area. Further applications will be scheduled as needed to respond to increased vector populations or positive samples as they are found. No areas within city limits are currently scheduled for aerial spraying.
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.