Iowa’s entering peak mosquito season according to one of the nation’s top experts on the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. Dr. Steve Ostroff of the U-S Centers for Disease Control says the end of August through the first of September is Iowa’s peak mosquito time. Ostroff says the disease spread in “unprecedented fashion” over the past year — moving westward across five-thousand square miles of the U-S, including Iowa and it appears West Nile is here to stay. Dr. Ostroff says it highlights the need for what he terms “mosquito control activities.” Some counties are spraying standing water to kill larvae and a few are “fogging” areas. Scott County has decided against such spraying. Larry Barker, director of the Scott County Health Department, says it’s because there hasn’t been a human case of West Nile in the area. Iowa’s largest county, though, has a broad, chemical-spraying program. Polk County public health director Dr. Carolyn Beverly says pools of standing water are being targeted to kill mosquito larvae. State ag officials yesterday announced nine horses in Iowa have now been infected with West Nile. Iowa Department of Public Health director Dr. Steven Gleason says that means human cases may be just around the corner. Gleason says when horses contract the disease, that’s a harbinger that shows mosquitoes in the area have a “viral intensity” that could bring the disease to humans. Gleason and other public health officials recommend wearing repellent with DEET when outside and avoiding the outdoors in peak biting time, at dawn and dusk. Birds that died of West Nile have been found in 52 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Find a complete list on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website, www.idph.state.ia.us.
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