Aerial spray operation for NW Harris Co.

July 15, 2009 4:17:29 PM PDT
An aerial spray operation is scheduled Wednesday for portions of northwest Harris County to combat the mosquito borne disease, West Nile Virus.[MAP: See a map of the proposed spray area]

The aerial application will begin Wednesday evening, July 15, after dusk and continue until approximately 4:00am. The operation will spray approximately 100,000 acres by air, weather permitting.

The EPA-approved insecticide Dibrom is routinely used for aerial operations to combat mosquito borne disease. While Dibrom is considered to be safe for the environment, some people may be sensitive to direct contact with the chemical. The Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) asks that individuals go indoors while the aerial treatment is being conducted in your area.

"Harris County is experiencing a very hot and dry year. This type of weather is conducive for increasing the risk for transmission of mosquito borne diseases such as West Nile Virus. As a result, there have been clusters of disease activity detected necessitating the need to implement the aerial treatment in the designated areas," said Dr. Rudy Bueno, Director of HCPHES Mosquito Control.

Historically, July through September has been the peak timeframe for disease transmission to humans in Harris County. To date, West Nile Virus has been confirmed in 55 mosquito samples.

The HCPHES encourages residents to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats around their property by doing the following:

  • Remove or empty all outside containers that may hold water such as flowerpots, tires and toys.
  • Change bird baths and pet water bowls at least twice a week.
  • Do not "feed" the storm drains.
  • Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs from sidewalks and driveways and dispose of them properly.

The HCPHES also says to practice personal protective measures to reduce the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes. When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 and apply as directed on the label. If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

For additional information and maps of West Nile Virus activity in Harris County, visit the HCPHES web site.

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