An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : News
NEWS | April 17, 2014

JBSA Public Health Flight provides preemptive measures to fight mosquito-borne disease

By Tech. Sgt. Carrie Powell, NCOIC, Community Health and Master Sgt. Michael Warren, NCOIC, Public Health Flight and Maj. William Lujan, Public Health Flight commander

Every year during the peak mosquito season of April through October, Public Health receives routine complaints about mosquitoes disturbing housing residents across Joint Base San Antonio.

Although we had no significant issues with West Nile Virus during last year's mosquito season, WNV was a major issue in Texas during July and August 2012 and affected many areas throughout JBSA. Remaining vigilant and proactive in reducing mosquito populations should be on the front of everyone's mind to help ensure WNV is not an issue once more.

Mosquitoes only fly a short distance from their breeding sites to feed, so identifying these sites and eliminating them is vital to controlling mosquito populations in your area. A small amount of water (even a thimble full) containing any organic matter is all that's required for the female mosquitoes to lay eggs and reproduce.

Chemical methods for mosquito control, such as fogging, are only considered when mosquito populations are unmanageable through the "environment friendly" methods stated above and when an actual threat of disease transmission exists. Public Health is working to detect any large number mosquito populations, as well as any mosquito-borne diseases present in mosquitoes trapped throughout JBSA. Base residents should realize that fogging is not very effective (only 16 percent per Armed Forces Pest Management Board) and provides only a short-term solution, which is also quite costly in manpower and chemical expenses.

Once again, to control mosquitoes, we need your help. Inspect outdoor yard areas and eliminate potential breeding sites. Do not allow water to stagnate in old tires, flowerpots, trash containers, swimming pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, etc.

This is the safest and most effective means of mosquito control. If you have any questions or desire more information, contact the Pest Management experts at 652-4299, the JBSA-Randolph Public Health office at 652-1876.

Tips to eradicate mosquitoes

What can you do to help reduce mosquito populations in your area?

· Remove all potential mosquito breeding sources.

· Change out stagnant water in pet bowls and birdbaths at least every three to four days.

· Remove or dump residue water from items in your yards or drill drain holes in anything you. have in your yard that may hold water, i.e., children's play toys.

· Dump residue water from flowerpot overflow dishes every three to four.

· Check trees for holes that could hold water. Fill holes with tree sealant or sand.

· Clean roof gutters routinely and ensure they are hung properly to drain roof water well away for your home to avoid pooling, which stops breeding sites.

· When watering lawns or gardens, don't use excessive amounts of water can result in areas of pooling.

· Adjust conservatively your water control valves and timers to eliminate water puddles and lush growth of vegetation.

What is West Nile Virus (WNV) infection?

"West Nile Virus" is a flavivirus commonly found in Africa, West Asia and the Middle East. It is closely related to St. Louis encephalitis virus found in the United States. WNV is spread by mosquitoes that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are more prevalent during the summer and into the fall. WNV has been found throughout Texas and much of the continental United States each year since 2002.

How do people get infected with WNV?

People get WNV from the bit of infected mosquitoes. Most mosquito bites occur during the dusk and dawn hours. A mosquito is infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. WNV is not spread by person-to-person contact, or directly from birds to humans.

What are the symptoms of WNV?

Symptoms generally occur three to 15 days following the bite from an infected mosquito. Nearly 80 percent of patients bitten by WNV-infected mosquitoes will have no symptoms. Twenty percent of patients may develop flu-like symptoms, ranging from a slight fever, headache, rash and swollen glands to the rapid onset of severe headache,, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, coma and in rare instances, death. About one percent may develop more severe symptoms of meningitis, encephalitis or paralysis.

How can you reduce your chances of being bitten/potentially infected with WNV?

· Stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active. This is normally at dusk and at dawn.

· Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors.

· Use insect repellent products with no more than 35 percent DEET for adults and less than 10 percent for children.

· If you leave your house windows open, make sure they have a screen.