Aerial Spray Operation Scheduled to Combat West Nile Virus
Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) Mosquito Control has scheduled an aerial spray operation for portions of west and northwest Harris County to combat mosquito-borne disease.
The aerial application will occur this evening, with plans to spray approximately 63,000 acres by air, weather permitting.
The aerial spray operation is being conducted in response to recent surveillance findings indicating that West Nile Virus activity has increased in Harris County.
To date, West Nile Virus has been confirmed in more than 300 mosquito samples and nearly 100 dead birds in Harris County.
“Harris County is experiencing an increase of West Nile Virus infection in mosquitoes and, most notably, in the dead bird population,” said Dr. Rudy Bueno, Director of HCPHES Mosquito Control. “This situation has prompted the need to supplement the ongoing countywide ground treatment with aerial treatment in the designated areas to better protect the health of our residents.
Vector Disease Control, Inc. of Greenville, Miss. will be conducting the aerial spray operation. VDCI holds a contingency contract with Harris County to provide aerial application of adulticides (insecticide used against adult mosquitoes) on an “as needed” basis.
The insecticide, EPA-approved Dibrom, is routinely used for aerial spray operations to combat mosquito-borne disease and will be used during the spray operation in Harris County. Dibrom is considered to be safe for the environment and is applied according to the label instructions.
For people concerned about exposure during the aerial spray operation, HCPHES recommends individuals stay indoors while the aerial treatment is being conducted in the affected areas, as a precaution.
Mosquito-Proof Your Property
HCPHES continues to encourage residents to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats around their property.
- Remove or empty all outside containers that may hold water such as flowerpots, tires and toys.
- Bird baths and pet water bowls should be changed at least twice a week.
- Clean out gutters and make sure windows and doors have proper screening.
- Do not “feed” the storm drains. Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs from sidewalks and driveways and dispose of them properly.
Prevent Mosquito Breeding in Boats
- Cover your boat and store it in a covered place.
- Drain any standing water and make sure the bilge pump is working.
- Turn over canoes, kayaks and small boats to store upside down.
Historically, in Harris County, July through September is the peak timeframe for disease transmission to humans. To reduce the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes, practice personal protective measures.
- When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 and apply as directed on the label.
- If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.