MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Officials have given out the warning to Twin Cities residents: West Nile Virus is back.
Authorities with the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District said Wednesday a sample of mosquitoes collected in Carver County tested positive for West Nile Virus. Officials said so far, there have been no confirmed human cases of the virus in the Twin Cities.
Wet conditions combined with hot and humid weather can boost the mosquito population and contribute to the spread of the virus. Officials said you can reduce your chances of getting West Nile virus by routinely checking your yard for water-holding containers and dumping them out.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans by certain mosquitoes, that get it from birds. Anyone can get sick but older people are usually hit the hardest.
“It can cause an extremely high fever that lasts for a long, long time and there are other symptoms, as well,” said Mike McLean, of Metropolitan Mosquito Control.
People in the Metropolitan Mosquito Control lab are busy sorting and testing mosquitoes collected from various parts of the metro area.
“One of the reasons we’re a bit more concerned this year is because we’ve had such a wet spring, there’s ample habitat out for the types of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile,” said Kirk Johnson.
Mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in about a week during warm weather. You can help control them by eliminating small pools of water on your property.
“So dump that water out and get rid of those old buckets and sandbox toys and pop cans and stuff, and you’ll go a long way to lowering your risk of any kind of mosquito-born disease,” McLean said.
Some birds that carry the West Nile virus are not affected by it. But if you see a dead crow, the Mosquito Control people would like to hear from you.
“Some species, like crows and bluejays will die from it, so the other thing we ask people to do is, if you see a dead crow, or you see a crow acting strangely and it drops dead, you can give us a call and we may come and collect it and do some testing for it as well,” McLean said.
Also, make sure your window screens are in good condition, wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting and light-colored clothing, use mosquito repellant and avoid outdoor activity at dawn or dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. And make sure to cover any rain barrels you have on your property so mosquitoes can’t breed in there.