The City of Van Alstyne and the Grayson County Health Department (GCHD) work together each summer and fall to trap mosquitoes as part of a West Nile Virus (WNV) surveillance program. The two entities were notified by the testing laboratory that both mosquito trap locations (Baldwin Street and the Hwy 5/County Line Road) collected on Oct. 8 came back positive for WNV-infected mosquitoes. Other positive samples were found in southeast Denison and in the City of Collinsville.
The virus that causes WNV is a bird disease. When Culex mosquitoes feed on an infected bird, the mosquitoes are then capable of infecting people. The City of Van Alstyne and the GCHD strongly encourage citizens to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes. Precautions include:
• Use an insect repellent that contains DEET
• Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants when outdoors
• If mosquito activity is heavy, get indoors
• Inspect your yard or business for containers that could hold rain water or lawn sprinkler water. Get rid of these breeding sites, or turn them upside down to prevent standing water
• For ponds and ditches holding water, use mosquito “dunks” to kill wigglers, available through the GCHD or at local hardware stores
There is a risk of WNV infection as long as mosquitoes are active, which is typically through early December. GCHD continues to trap in Van Alstyne and will provide updated test results as they are received.
For additional information about West Nile Virus, contact the Health Department at 903 893-0131.