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Verbatim: This is Mosquito Week

Statement issued Wednesday:

Residents advised to eliminate breeding sites, wear repellent

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (June 23, 2010). – The focus of a special weeklong awareness campaign isn't to celebrate mosquitoes, but to draw attention to efforts to control them.

Since mosquitoes can carry harmful disease, it's important that residents know how to best protect themselves from these biting insects. That is why the American Mosquito Control Association has declared this week, June 20-26, to be the 14th annual National Mosquito Control Awareness Week.

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health has a surveillance program in place to reduce mosquito habitats before they breed and monitor adult mosquitoes once in the air.

Some of those efforts include treating bodies of water with larvacide and stocking ponds with small aggressive top feeding minnows known as Mosquitofish to control the larvae population.

The health department also traps and tests adult mosquitoes for West Nile virus. Only when adult mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus does the department spray, and then only a ½-mile radius around the site of the trap.

Residents can do their part by empting flower pots, replacing water in birdbaths, maintaining swimming pools, cleaning out clogged gutters and eliminating other sources of standing water on their property.

The department also recommends residents wear pants and long-sleeve shirts and use insect repellent when spending time outside.

For more information on mosquito control in Allen County, please call (260) 449-7459.

About Arboviruses

West Nile and LaCrosse encephalitis are arboviruses that are spread to humans from the bite of an infected mosquito. West Nile virus is generally spread by nighttime-biting mosquitoes and most often causes serious illness in people over age 50 and those with already compromised immune systems. LaCrosse encephalitis, another mosquito-borne disease, most often strikes children and teenagers and is spread by mosquitoes which generally bite during the day. Symptoms of both diseases are similar and usually begin three to 15 days after being bitten. Fever, body aches, headache, neck pain and fatigue are the most common symptoms, but in severe cases, there is the possibility of seizure, coma and even death. There is no vaccine and no specific treatment for either West Nile or LaCrosse.

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