Aerial Mosquito Treatments Begin in Truckee Meadows - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Aerial Mosquito Treatments Begin in Truckee Meadows

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The Washoe County Health District says northern Nevada may experience biting mosquitoes earlier than normal, this year, because of the mild winter and spring conditions. So, helicopter treatments are underway for the first time of the spring, to help protect the Truckee Meadows from diseases like West Nile Virus.

The Vector-Borne Disease Program drops herbicidal pellets into area ponds and wetlands to keep young mosquitos from growing into adults. "It specifically kills mosquito larvae," Jim Shaffer, Vector-Borne Disease Program Director said. "It doesn't harm predators, water fowl, fish or humans or children."

Helicopter pilots covered more than 350 acres, Wednesday flying over Rosewood Lakes, Butler Ranch, and Red Hawk. Despite three years of drought, mosquitos can still thrive in the wet urban areas. "Irrigation continues, people go ahead and water lawns, you have water in catch basins, you have water going into detention basins, and also water into wetlands," Shaffer said.

Ten samples tested positive for West Nile Virus in the Truckee Meadows, last year. One human case was also confirmed. "We believe the individual did not contract that virus here," Shaffer said. "He had taken some extensive travel and we believe he had contracted it before."

Most West Nile virus cases happen in the hotter months of the summer.

While this abatement program can minimize the threat of the disease, residents are also encouraged to help around their homes. "Empty paint cans, used tires, anything that contains water, make sure you drain those out because is doesn't take much water for a mosquito to breed," Phillip Ulibarri, Washoe County Health District Public Information Officer said.

If you're in a place where mosquitos are being a nuisance, Ulibarri says it's important to protect yourself from them. "Make sure you're wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants," Ulibarri said. "That way, the mosquitoes can't bite you. If you're going to wear shorts and short-sleeve shirts, make sure you use a repellent. One that contains DEET to keep the mosquitos away."

The Nevada Department of Agriculture is asking anyone who owns horses to get their animals vaccinated for West Nile Virus. There have been more than 200 confirmed cases of the virus, in Nevada horses, in the last ten years. About a third of infected horses die from the disease.

Written by Paul Nelson
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