Mosquitoes in Lubbock test positive for West Nile

Mosquitoes in Lubbock test positive for West Nile

     
Every Summer, Texas Tech Researchers with Environmental and Human Health lay out traps to study mosquitoes in our area. This last bunch tested positive for West Nile Virus. However, researchers say you shouldn't be too alarmed just more prepared. 

Jordan Hunter is a graduate student. He doesn't shy away from the pesky skeeters.

"We bait them with like C02 and there's a light in there," he said. So, the mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide and the light." 
     
He's part of team that puts out the mosquito traps around Lubbock.

"They will go in the traps," he said. There is a little fan in there that pushes them down so they can't get out."

Once researchers collect the mosquitoes, they're brought back to a room with a very fitting sign: Mosquito Crossing.

"We bring them back here to the lab and ID all the different mosquitoes we get in the trap," Hunter said.

The ones caught two weeks ago tested positive for West Nile. Dr. Steve Presley explains where they were found. 

"Week before last it was far west Lubbock and this past week it was southeast Lubbock near Slaton Highway and Martin Luther King area," he said.

Presley explains what this means.

"The amplification between the birds and mosquitoes, the wild cycle of West Nile is ongoing and it has become established," he said. That is necessary for there to be enough infected mosquitoes with the virus to transmit it to humans."

He said this is just an early warning.

"This is nothing to be alarmed about," he said. It's an awareness thing. People should be just more aware."

There is something different about trapping them this Summer.

"We got used to four years of drought," Presley said. Weeds in alleys, weeds in yards, standing water we didn't pay too much attention to it because we were in a drought. We are back to our normal cycle now."

Presley expects more locations to test positive.

"Several positive locations this week and in future weeks," he said. Once that amplification cycle gets going it goes and goes."

Up to 80 percent of those infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms. According to the State Department of Human Health those over the age of 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill.

For a link to the 4D's to protect yourself, click here.

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