ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - As part of APG's continued commitment to the health and safety of the community, the U.S. Army Kirk Medical Clinic Preventive Medicine unit at APG routinely identifies and samples mosquito breeding areas for the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV). These breeding areas include stagnant pools of water.During a recent sampling event, a pool of standing water contained mosquitoes which tested positive for WNV. That pool was treated with larvacide to prevent mosquitoes from breeding further. Several other pools of standing water with mosquito activity that tested negative for WNV were also treated.
"Although there was a West Nile virus-positive result in only one pool of standing water, this does not constitute a health emergency," said Andrea Clark, Public Health Command spokesperson. "As members of the APG community you have a right to know what's going on and what is being done."Earlier this year, the Preventive Medicine unit identified areas around post where standing water was common and set up mosquito traps, according to Chief of Preventive Medicine 1st Lt. Joanna Moore. Each week, samples are taken from each mosquito trap, which are then sent to Public Health Command -- North at Fort Meade, Maryland for testing.APG has sent samples totaling more than 1,000 mosquitoes to PHC-N for testing, according to Moore. Samples are groups of no more than 25 mosquitoes from one trap. Samples from each trap are sent weekly to PHC. Only one sample from APG has tested positive for WNV this year, she said.After that sample came back positive for WNV, the Preventive Medicine unit initiated a program with the Directorate of Public Works to administer larvacide to standing pools of water on post."The best way to attack mosquitoes is to kill them while they are larva, before they become adults," Moore said.The larvacide dissolves in the standing pool of water, where it is ingested by larvae, causing them to die. Future larvae and pupae will feed off of the larvae that died as a result of the larvacide, keeping the next two to three generations of mosquitoes from reaching adulthood, Moore said.In addition to treating standing water with larvacide, the Preventive Medicine unit and the DPW have collaborated to drain identified areas of standing water on post, eliminating potential mosquito breeding areas, Moore said.Preventive measures
APG is already conducting large-scale preventive measures but there are steps you and your family can take to further protect yourselves.Empty any pools or containers of standing water around your home where mosquitoes may breed.Keep doors and windows closed or used well-fitting screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home.When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing DEET.Weather permitting; reduce the amount of exposed skin while outdoors by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, as well as socks.Avoid spending a significant amount of time outdoors during peak mosquito-biting hours, typically dawn and dusk.
"The best way for people to prevent themselves from getting West Nile is personal protection," Moore said. "When you're outside, you want to make sure you're applying DEET. When you're at the pool you think about applying sun block but places like pools are very susceptible to mosquitoes because they have a lot of standing water," she said.Bug spray should contain at least 25 percent DEET, according to Moore, and should be re-applied every four to six hours.West Nile Virus symptoms
WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms at all."About one in five people who are infected will develop a fever and possibly other symptoms such as headache or body aches," said Clark. "In a small number of cases, less than one percent, the symptoms are more serious and WNV can cause encephalitis, particularly among the elderly and those with weakened immune systems."Although there are no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent WNV infection, symptoms and complications of the virus can be treated with supportive care."To date there have been no cases of WNV reported at APG," said Clark. "However, if you are concerned that you or someone in your family might be experiencing negative health effects consistent with the symptoms of West Nile Virus, please see your primary care provider so that he or she can personally evaluate your symptoms and determine what, if any, medical treatment is necessary."APG is committed to protecting the health and safety of our Soldiers, Family members, and the civilian and contractor workforce.If you have identified an area of standing water that you believe has not been treated with larvacide, you can submit a work order to the DPW.For more information about ongoing APG efforts to reduce the risk of contact with WNV-positive mosquitoes, please contact Sgt. Zi Liu, noncommissioned officer in charge for Kirk Preventive Medicine, at email@example.com."I want the community to understand that there is absolutely no cause for concern about West Nile on APG," Moore said." Almost every installation on the East Coast will have a WNV-positive mosquito sample during the mosquito season.
"The best thing you can do is to protect yourself utilizing common preventive measures," she said.For more information about WNV symptoms, treatment and prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WNV site at www.cdc.gov/westnile or the the U.S. Army Public Health Command website: http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/discond/aid/Pages/WestNileVirus.aspx