By Raymond Randle, Fort Bliss Envirnomental HealthAugust 23, 2012
Fort Bliss is keeping a watchful eye for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.
Since April, the William Beaumont Army Medical Center Department of Preventive Medicine has been conducting a mosquito surveillance program -- intended to actively trap mosquitoes and test for the virus.
Areas of surveillance include all of Fort Bliss property, Biggs Air Field, Oro Grande Base Camp, Donna Anna Base Camp and McGregor Range training areas.
The El Paso Public Health Department recently confirmed the first positive human case of the West Nile Virus in the El Paso County area. The Department of the Army Public Health Command Region West has not reported any positive results from its mosquito trappings.
The area's recent rains are of major concern. The Department of Preventive Medicine's Environmental Health is asking for continued community support to help fight the battle against mosquitoes.
Remove standing water. Eliminate mosquito-breeding sites by emptying water from birdbaths, old tires, and other outdoor containers that hold water.
Do not allow water to accumulate in the saucers of flowerpots or in pet dishes for more than two days. Clean debris from rain gutters and remove any standing water under or around structures, or on flat roofs. Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks to eliminate puddles that remain for several days. Maintain swimming pools properly -- keep pools chlorinated and pumps circulating. Remember it only takes a small amount of standing water for female mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
Avoid mosquitoes at active times and protect yourself when outdoors. Stay indoors at dawn, dusk and early evening. These are time when mosquitoes are most active.
Whenever outdoors, wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants and socks. Wear loose-fitting clothing so mosquitoes cannot bite through the fabric. Keep mosquitoes outside by making sure that doors and window screens do not have holes or gaps in them. Vitamin B, ultrasonic devices and bug zappers are not effective in preventing mosquito bites.
Use repellant when outside. Use insect repellents that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The repellent should have at least 20 percent to 35 percent DEET available ingredient.
Avoid applying repellants to portions of children's hands that are likely to have contact with eyes or mouth. Pregnant and nursing women should minimize use of repellents. Never use repellants on wounds or irritated skin. Also wash repellent treated skin after coming indoors.
The Environmental Health section of WBAMC's Department of Preventive Medicine urges Fort Bliss community members to follow these helpful hints and to educate others on how to help control the mosquito population.
For more information, about West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile or phc.amedd.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx.
For more information about the mosquito surveillance program at Fort Bliss, contact Environmental Health at (915) 742-3124.