Environmental health dept.: West Nile virus issues in Albuquerque under control
Posted at: 09/04/2012 6:18 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The West Nile Virus has been beating up on people across America. Mosquitoes carry the virus and the insects thrive on standing bodies of water. Even a small cup filled with water could eventually turn into a nest of mosquitoes, potentially carrying lethal diseases.
Some of the arroyos around Albuquerque have already been sprayed for mosquitoes this year. The spray used is a combination of alcohol and sugar that creates a film over the eggs of mosquitoes under water that kills them.
KOB Eyewitness News 4 found an irrigation ditch that had nearly standing water on Montano and Coors. It is a ditch just west of the Rio Grande River. But the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department said there's no need to fear about any mosquitoes getting out of the water at that area.
"It's not being sprayed on the water surface because there are mosquito fish in that water that eat the larvae and pupae, so the aquatic stage of mosquitos are already being controlled biologically," said Mark DiMenna with the Albuquerque Environmental Health Department.
He continued that despite a drought this year in Albuquerque, the perception in the state is that things are worse off with mosquitos. DiMenna said part of this is due to the media exposure of West Nile in the state and across the country.
There have been 14 cases reported in New Mexico and five cases, alone, in Bernalillo county. DiMenna said even he and his family are keeping a close on mosquitos when they go on walks.
"The chances of something happening and getting somebody in your family infected are slim, but the consequences can be severe enough that it's not worth taking a chance," he said.
The best way to avoid getting the West Nile Virus is to stay away from areas where there is standing water, DiMenna said. But when standing water cannot be avoided, he said there is a good protocol to follow.
"Long sleeves, long pants, if they can tolerate the heat. And if not or in addition, use insect repellant with deet in it. That's proven to be effective," he said.