FORT SILL, Okla. -- Despite a light 2013 season for confirmed cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) across Oklahoma, recently trapped WNV infected mosquitoes here have Fort Sill officials taking action to reduce their numbers.

Though only one case of WNV has been reported statewide this year, in 2012, 176 cases were reported and 15 deaths attributed to the virus.

Reynolds Army Community Hospital environmental health technicians recently found WNV infected mosquitoes during random trapping. In response to that, Professional Contract Services, Inc. contractors with the Directorate of Public Works began fogging portions of the post last week and will continue to do so for three weeks. At that time, RACH technicians will trap and count WNV infected mosquitoes to see if further fogging is necessary.

Fogging began Aug. 19 on the south side of Sheridan Road in the 6000 area (Key Gate-East at I-44). This process of fogging, trapping and counting will continue until environmental health technicians confirm infected mosquitoes no longer show up in their traps. Contract crews will fog from 5:30-7 a.m. during the work week in the following areas on post:

Mondays South side of Sheridan Road in the 6000 area.

Tuesdays From Fort Sill Blvd. west to Pitman Street, and from Mow-Way Road north to Ringgold.

Wednesdays Martha Songbird Park area, from Bateman to Condon Road and Macomb to Upton Road.

Thursdays North side of Sheridan Road in the 6000 area.

Fridays South of Minor Road to Wilson Road and Babcock east to Sheridan Road.

In addition to DPW's scheduled fogging, Environmental Pest Control contractors with Corvias Military Living fogged all neighborhoods on post Aug. 19-23 and Aug. 26 to today from 5-6:30 a.m. to minimize contact with pedestrian traffic. Corvias contractors coordinated fogging with DPW and Preventive Medicine. This approach ensures a cohesive plan to control mosquito populations.

"If future mosquito counts show a significant number of infected mosquitoes, more fogging will be done," said Darin Utterback, Corvias Military Living community management director here. "Corvias is committed to providing our residents with quality neighborhoods to raise their families."

Utterback reminded families to wash toys outside before children play with them. He added residents can play a big role in controlling the mosquito population by emptying water from any outdoor receptacles to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in them.

Army leaders are concerned with the health and safety of Soldiers, their families and the civilian and contractor workforce. Currently, no information suggests there is an increased WNV risk to people.

Mosquitoes feed on infected birds and transmit the virus to people and animals when bitten. However, infected people cannot transmit the virus to others.

Mosquitoes will likely be active in Oklahoma through October.

People outside during this timeframe can minimize their chances of being bitten. Start with insect repellents. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) website, http://go.usa.gov/wpz, recommends products containing manufactured agents DEET or picaridin or a natural agent oil of lemon eucalyptus as effective products. DEET repellents should include at least 20-30 percent of the active ingredient.

Wear long-sleeved shirts with pants tucked into socks to reduce exposed skin.

At home or work, drain all free standing water.

Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. When people contract WNV, healthy individuals may not develop symptoms. For those who do, symptoms are often mild and may include fever, headache, dizziness and body aches. They may be similar to colds or the flu. Most individuals recover fully after the infection has run its course.

Severe symptoms are much less common, but are more frequently seen in older people or those with other chronic medical conditions. These may include high fever, headache, swollen glands, skin rash, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, muscle weakness, paralysis and disorientation.

People older than age 50 are at greatest risk of developing severe neurological disease from WNV infection. Anyone experiencing any of these severe symptoms should be seen by their primary care managers or the Reynolds Army Community Hospital Emergency Room.

Last year, Oklahomans who contracted the virus ranged in age from infants to 93.

More information about WNV is online through Army Public Health Command's website at www.phc.amedd.army.mil or the OSDH website.

People may also call the Department of Preventive Medicine at Reynolds Army Community Hospital at 580-422-0160.

Page last updated Thu August 29th, 2013 at 11:28