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Tests confirm West Nile virus in Denton mosquitos, not on UNT campus

Denton city leaders issued an alert Sept. 2 after a sample of mosquitoes collected Aug. 18 from traps located near Unicorn Lake tested positive for West Nile virus.

UNT Facilities personnel continue to monitor water on campus to ensure there are no standing pools that would provide mosquitoes with a breeding ground so that they can control the mosquito larvae population as best as possible. Grounds personnel also continue to keep trash containers free of any liquid; litter that contains water will be disposed of as soon as possible; and ground irrigation controls and storm drains will be monitored.

“These are the first samples that have tested positive for West Nile virus in the city of Denton this year,” said Ken Banks, the city’s environmental services director, in a news release. The incidence rate of West Nile virus in mosquitoes has been low this year compared with the last couple of years, Banks said. 

The recent rains should help to reduce the population of the culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes (West Nile virus carriers) since they do not breed in areas with moving or chlorinated water.

The following websites offer more information on mosquitoes:

The finding near Unicorn Lake in southeastern Denton caused the city to enter Risk Level 3 of its mosquito surveillance and response plan. Level 3 means the probability of a person contracting a mosquito-borne disease like West Nile is low to moderate. Also, the amount of biological agents applied to kill mosquito larva is increased over Level 2 amounts.  

The city will continue to conduct routine surveys of adult mosquitoes, which will be identified to species level and screened for the presence of viruses. The locations where disease-carrying mosquitoes were captured will be indicated on a map available on the city’s website at www.cityofdenton.com.

Although West Nile virus infections are rare in humans, personal protection is important at this risk level, especially for the elderly and children. Residents can try to avoid exposure to the virus and other mosquito-borne diseases by following these tips:

• When outdoors, use mosquito repellent containing DEET or Picaridin. Mosquitoes often are most active at dusk and dawn. Consider wearing long sleeves and pants or staying indoors during these times.

• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying areas of standing water and replacing water in pet dishes and birdbaths regularly. Drill holes in tire swings to allow water to drain. Empty children's wading pools and place them on their sides until you plan to use them.

• Install or repair screens on windows and doors.

• Use BTI briquettes, floating rings that kill mosquito larvae, in standing water. Denton residents can pick up briquettes (limit two per resident) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the utilities service center, 901A Texas St., or from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays at the city composting operations at 1100 Mayhill Road.

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