2014-03-21 / Spectrum

Mosquito surveillance: the key to awareness

By Pfc. Elisha Robinson
Preventive Medicine Technician

Metro Creative Graphics, Inc. Metro Creative Graphics, Inc. In 2013, 2,374 cases of the West Nile Virus have been confirmed in the United States. Of those 2374, six have been in Georgia. Richmond and Columbia County have confirmed two cases of the West Nile Virus during 2013 with zero deaths. The Environmental Health section of Preventive Medicine at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center is performing mosquito surveillance to combat the spread of the disease.

Starting in April through October 2014, DDEAMC is conducting mosquito surveillance which is the first step in an effective, efficient and environmentally friendly mosquito control program and the surveillance gives information to Department of Public Works to project where to suppress the mosquito population.

The EH section is setting mosquito light and gravid traps in five to 10 locations around Fort Gordon each week with a focus on areas around living quarters and high traffic areas on post.

It is important to monitor mosquito populations during this time of year as many mosquito-borne viruses are most active from late spring through early fall including West Nile Virus.

Humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and other mammals can be infected by the West Nile Virus and the most common route of transmission is through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The virus is not spread through direct contact with an infected person and approximately 80 percent of people who are infected will not show any signs or symptoms.

Of those infected, 20 percent will exhibit mild symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches and 1 in 150 will develop a severe neuroinvasive illness according to the United States Army Public Health Command.

To reduce the number of mosquitoes whom may transmit the disease you should eliminate breeding sites by removing and emptying sources of standing water such as tires, open containers and puddles. For pool owners, keeping your pool well-kempt is another prevention method. Not doing so may result in a fine from the state of Georgia and even jail time.

To ensure you are protected from being bitten from mosquitoes apply insect repellent to exposed skin, ensure windows and doors have screens that tightly sealed and cover up exposed skin with clothing.

For more informa- tion contact the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Environmental Health Section at 787-1215 or visit http:// wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ yellowbook/2012/chapter- 2-the-pre-travel-consultation/ protection-againstmosquitoes ticks- andother insects-and-arthropods website.

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