• Public Health monitors mosquitos on post

  • While mosquitos are bothersome, most are harmless, but some can carry various viruses including Zika virus, West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    While mosquitos are bothersome, most are harmless, but some can carry various viruses including Zika virus, West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
    To better assess the mosquito population on post, Munson Army Health Center’s Public Health section has conducted mosquito surveillance since May.
    “We set up five traps a week,” said James Rodgers, MAHC Environmental Health technician. “We bring them back, separate them off and send them (to Army Public Health Center, formerly Public Health Command, at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas).
    “If something were to test positive in that petri dish we sent out, they’ll contact us,” he said. “If not, by around December or January, we’ll get a full report with everything throughout the year.”
    Rodgers said two different types of traps are used to catch the mosquitos. One is a light trap that sits out overnight and uses dry ice to attract mosquitos, and one is a daytime trap that uses human scent as an attractant.
    There are 29 different points around post where traps are put out on a rotating basis, but there are three additional points that are permanent — one on the trail between Hunt Loop and Bradley Elementary School and two at Sherman Army Airfield.
    “Over time, (those three) have been the most productive areas,” Rodgers said.
    While mosquitos that can potentially carry the harmful viruses have been caught on post in recent years, none have tested positive for the viruses; however, it is still important to know the signs and symptoms of the diseases, Rodgers said.
    Zika, West Nile and EEE all mimic the symptoms of flu — fever, headache and joint and muscle pain.
    According to the Centers for Disease, Control and Prevention’s official website, people infected with the Zika virus, usually from an Aedes mosquito, rarely show symptoms and, when they do show symptoms, they are mild. Additionally, the virus only remains in the bloodstream for a week. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
    West Nile is carried by the Culex tarsalis mosquito. According to CDC, eight out of 10 people infected with West Nile will not develop symptoms. However, one in five can develop a mild fever, headache, body aches and other flu-like symptoms, but will usually recover quickly. One in 150 people infected can develop more serious symptoms such as high fever, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and vision loss, among others. If any symptoms develop, see a healthcare provider.
    EEE, carried by Coquillettidia perturbans, is a rare virus that causes brain inflammation and can result in two types of illness — systematic and encephalitic.
    Page 2 of 2 - “This type of illness will depend on the age of the person and other host factors. It is possible that some people who become infected with EEEV may be asymptomatic,” according to CDC.
    A systemic infection has an abrupt onset and generally lasts one to two weeks. Common symptoms include chills, fever, malaise, arthralgia and myalgia.
    Encephalitic symptoms have an abrupt onset in infants, but often come after one to two days of systemic illness in older children and adults, according to CDC. Symptoms include fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, cyanosis, convulsions and coma.
    For more information about mosquito-transmitted viruses and treatment, visit cdc.gov.
    To prevent mosquitos around the home or the family, use insect repellant and dump out standing water from buckets or pools when they are not being used, Rodgers said.
    To report a high concentration of mosquitos in housing areas, call the housing office at (913) 682-6300. All other areas of post, call 684-6683.
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