Putting Mosquitoes in a Fog
by: Pat Hernandez, May 13, 2009 5:05:56 pm
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In a neighborhood not far from Hermann Park, a truck from Harris County Mosquito Control stops near a manhole. One worker jumps out with a tool resembling a crowbar, lifts the manhole cover and inserts a tube. Soon the manhole is filled with a heavy fog-like substance. The overflow escapes from nearby storm drains. The operation to combat the threat of mosquitoes is underway. Dr. Rudy Bueno is director of the county's Mosquito Control Division. He says surveillance of the area has found the Culex mosquito thriving.
"It's that species of mosquito that is the primary vector of West Nile virus in this area. And, this is the time of year from about May through October, when West Nile virus is present, and starts to build up in the population so, this is the way for us to keep track of what's going on in the county week in and week out."
Bueno says Mosquito Control is taking this proactive measure to minimize the threat of mosquito-borne disease.
"About ninety-five percent of the population of mosquitoes that we trap is of that species."
Culex is the main species of mosquito known to carry West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis in the Houston-Harris County area. Predicting the virus is not yet a science, so Dr. Bueno says surveillance plays an important role in determining the strategy they use to minimize the spread.
Pat Hernandez, KUHF...Houston Public Radio News.