ST. PAUL, Minn. - The good news, is that overall mosquito numbers are dropping across the Twin Cities.
The bad news, the stuff that makes headlines, is that the risk of contracting the West Nile virus risk is increasing this week, according to the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District
A number of recent mosquito samples collected by MMCD as part of its West Nile virus risk reduction program have tested positive for the virus.
So far in 2013 29 cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed across 19 different counties in Minnesota. Two of those cases have resulted in death.
"West Nile risk typically peaks near the end of August in Minnesota, and because surveillance has recently detected an uptick in disease bearing species it is especially important that we continue to take common sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites" said Kirk Johnson, MMCD vector ecologist.
Mosquito control experts say residents enjoying outdoor activities during this warm, dry period should continue to pack and use mosquito repellent, even if mosquito levels seem tolerable.
While most mosquitoes don't carry West Nile virus, the species that do are often more abundant late in the summer.
Here's how you can help reduce your risk for West Nile virus:
- Check yards and neighborhoods for water-holding containers and recycle or dump
them out (it can take less than a week for mosquitoes to develop in standing water),
- Make sure window screens are in good repair
- Wear long-sleeved, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing
- Use mosquito repellent (carefully follow label directions)
- Whenever possible, avoid prolonged outdoor activity at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Not all mosquitoes carry the virus, and most people who are exposed to West Nile don't get sick. While anyone can develop West Nile illness, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk and should take special care to avoid mosquito bites.
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