PUBLIC HEALTH Programworks to prevent spread ofmosquito-borne illnesses
Plano’s Environmental Health & Sustainability Department has permanent mosquito traps at 39 locations across the city. This map shows the sites the city will typically monitor each year. STOP THE SPREAD
COURTESY CITY OF PLANO
Senior Environmental Quality Specialist Carolyn Russell prepares mosquito traps as part of Plano's health measures against the West Nile virus.
BY ERICK PIRAYESH
season, while other years can have as many as 20. In 2021, Plano ocials announced the city would take proactive measures by spraying targeted areas throughout the city where traps tested positive for West Nile ve dif- ferent times from August to October. Russel said the city takes multiple other steps to prevent mosquitoes from spreading throughout Plano. City ocials will eliminate breeding spots by applying pesticides to standing bodies of water and spraying certain areas. City personnel will also introduce sh that will consume mosquito larvae into certain habitats to help reduce population growth, Plano’s website states. While her department takes the issue of mosquitoes spreading West Nile seriously, Russell said Plano resi- dents should not be overly concerned about the virus. “It’s denitely just an awareness [that is needed] to understand that it exists and take personal protection,” she said. “Try to do weekly surveys of your property, and make sure there isn’t any unnecessary standing water.” Russell said residents should check plants and potters, and get rid of any built-up water around their yards as those are areas where mosquitoes will be most attracted. She said remembering the “Four Ds” are also important in defending against West Nile virus. According to the Texas Department
Each year fromMay to October, Plano environmental ocials set, check and test mosquito traps throughout the city to help monitor and mitigate the spread of the West Nile virus and other illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Nile virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the U.S., and it is often spread through mosquito bites during summer and fall months. The CDC website states that one in ve people infected by West Nile virus will develop a fever and minor symptoms, while one in 150 infected individuals can develop a serious or fatal illness. Carolyn Russell, Plano’s senior environmental quality specialist, said the hot and humid climate of Texas is well-suited for mosquitoes to live and breed. She explained that Plano sta place mosquito traps in nearly 40 dierent locations around the city in public areas where mosquitoes may be prevalent. The city then sends trapped mosquitoes o to a lab to test for any viruses. If a mosquito is determined to have tested positive for West Nile or any other virus, Plano ocials will then send out trucks to spray around an entire area to try to mitigate the potential spread. Russell said positive West Nile tests vary from year to year. She said that some years can see as little as one positive test throughout a mosquito
Plano city boundary permanent trap sites nearby parks
SOURCE: CITY OF PLANOCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
of State Health Services, the “Four Ds” include staying indoors during dusk and dawn; dressing in long sleeves and pants when outside for extra protection; using mosquito repellent with the ingredient called DEET; and draining standing water near homes. The CDC also recommends that homeowners use screens on windows and doors, and repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Using air conditioning inside a home, when it is available, can also help prevent mosquitoes from getting inside, the CDC website states.
According to the Collin County Epidemiology and Surveillance reports in 2021, 42 mosquito traps tested positive for West Nile virus in the county last year. Six of those positives come from Plano. The reports stated only one human case of West Nile was reported in the entire county during that time. City ocials said residents can call the Plano Environmental Health and Sustainability Department at 972-941-7143, or visit the city’s website for additional information regarding mosquitoes in Plano.
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